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US-Chinese race to wreck of sunken F35 fighter

An American F35 fighter jet has sunk in the South China Sea. Now the US Navy has quite a problem. The Americans must reach the wreck before the Chinese do. The Americans’ biggest problem is that the plane sank in international waters. Therefore, in theory, whoever gets to the wreckage first, wins. In this game
Published: January 29, 2022 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 23:58
US-Chinese race to wreck of sunken F35 fighter

An American F35 fighter jet has sunk in the South China Sea. Now the US Navy has quite a problem. The Americans must reach the wreck before the Chinese do.

The Americans’ biggest problem is that the plane sank in international waters. Therefore, in theory, whoever gets to the wreckage first, wins. In this game all tricks are allowed, because the stakes are very high – all the secrets of the F35.

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A $100 million F-35 fighter jet malfunctioned during take-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.

The US machine sank during an exercise on Monday, 24 January. The aircraft then struck the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. Seven US Navy sailors were injured as a result of the entire incident.

There is, of course, no information about the site of the sinking. The Americans have also not stated how long it will take them recovery of the wreck. Looking only at the average (1.2 km) and maximum (5.5 km) depth of the body of water, it will certainly not be an easy task.

The whole situation is certainly not helped by the fact that China lays claim to almost the entire South China Sea. In recent years, it has frequently demonstrated its presence and dominance in its waters. On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian denied that Beijing was interested in the wreck of the F35. On the other hand, what else could he convey in an official position?

The US Navy rescue unit was 10 days away from the crash site. However, by the time it arrived, the black box battery had discharged, making it difficult to locate the wreckage.

For the moment, we do not know how the whole situation will end. China is certainly very interested in finding out the secrets of the F35 fighter aircraft. If they succeeded in doing so, they would not only learn the secrets of its construction, but also its weak points.

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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