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F-35 fighter jet recovered from a depth of nearly 3,800m

The US Navy has recovered the wreckage of an F-35 fighter jet that sank in the South China Sea on 24 January during an exercise. With the end of January, the Americans found themselves in a very embarrassing position. It was then that, During an exercise, a copy of the latest version of the F-35C
Published: March 14, 2022 - 09:00
Updated: July 23, 2023 - 00:17
F-35 fighter jet recovered from a depth of nearly 3,800m

The US Navy has recovered the wreckage of an F-35 fighter jet that sank in the South China Sea on 24 January during an exercise.

With the end of January, the Americans found themselves in a very embarrassing position. It was then that, During an exercise, a copy of the latest version of the F-35C Lightning II fighter aircraft crashed and sank. The main problem was that the incident occurred in international waters and, to make matters worse, in an area of strong Chinese influence.

A $100 million F-35 jetliner had a malfunction while taking off from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. Following the whole incident, the aircraft fell into the water and sank to the bottom of the South China Sea. The jet is the US Navy’s newest aircraft. Consequently, the machine is packed with modern technology and secret equipment.

Concerns were immediately raised that the Chinese would try to get to the wreckage first in order to gain a thorough understanding of the machine’s design. In the future, this would not only make it possible to use the technologies used, but also to neutralise them. Not surprisingly, the Americans were keen to get to the wreckage before anyone else did.

Excavation of the wreckage of an F-35 fighter jet

The jet was lifted on Wednesday, March 2, from a depth of nearly 3,780m using a remotely operated underwater vehicle and crane. US officials have stressed in recent weeks that the recovery of the wrecked F-35, is crucial.

Capt Gareth Healy, who commanded the recovery operation, said in a statement that his team faced unique challenges to find and recover the jet in an “aggressive and achievable timeframe”. He also stressed what a great success it was to complete the task in 37 days.

On Thursday, March 3, the US Navy released photos of what looks like the wreckage of a $103 million fighter jet. The photos show the F-35 after being fished out to sea, hidden under a silver sheet aboard the Picasso craft. The service said the aircraft will be taken to a nearby military facility for a detailed assessment.

Videos have emerged online that show the entire incident when the F-35 crashed. They show the plane’s wing hitting the deck of the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, after which the plane burst into flames and slid off the deck into the water. The pilot and six sailors were injured in the crash.

The Navy has announced that at least five sailors have been charged with insubordination. All in connection with their role in leaking the video. The videos, recorded with mobile phones, ended up on websites including Reddit.

Photo: Stars and Stripes

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About author

Marcin Pawełczyk
Marcin’s journey with diving has been an adventure. Starting as a recreational diver, he soon found himself drawn to the fascinating stories and mysteries of Baltic wrecks. After gaining experience, Marcin decided to go beyond just leisurely exploration and took his training up a notch by completing the TMX course, allowing him to explore even deeper and uncover the secrets of inaccessible places. His next challenge has been cave diving, where he is honing his skills to become a certified diver. Not content to simply take in the breathtaking beauty of underwater life, Marcin has also embraced underwater photography since 2018, capturing stunning shots that bring these worlds alive for those who are unable to experience them first-hand. Marcin’s passion for the underwater has taken him far and is sure to continue doing so as he dives into new depths and captures breathtaking images.
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