Desperate hunt for ‘ghost’ F-35 fighter jet missing in the skies after pilot ejects but warplane KEEPS FLYING | The Sun

THE US military is desperately searching for a F-35 fighter jet after a "mishap" caused its pilot to eject but the warplane continued flying.

The "ghost" F-35 went missing over South Carolina on Sunday afternoon and military officials have called on the public to help locate the £64million aircraft.

The Marine Corps pilot safely ejected from the F-35B Lightning II at around 2pm and was taken to hospital after parachuting to the ground.

Emergency teams have been dispatched to locate the missing aircraft with the search now centred around two lakes north of North Charleston.

Joint Base Charleston said in a statement on Facebook: "The public is asked to cooperate with military and civilian authorities as the effort continues."

They described the incident as a "mishap" and stated they were focusing their attention around Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion based on the "jet’s last-known position".

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Officials are still investigating why the pilot ejected from the state-of-the-art warplane.

Local congresswoman, Nancy Mace, argued on X/Twitter: “How in the hell do you lose an F-35?

"How is there not a tracking device and we’re asking the public to what, find a jet and turn it in?”

The jet's transponder – which is usually used to locate the aircraft – is not working "for some reason that we haven't determined", a spokesperson at Joint Base Charleston told The Washington Post.

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The damage to the advanced F-35B Lightning II is currently unknown.

The plane and pilot belonged to the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 based in Beaufort, not far from South Carolina’s Atlantic coast.

In 2018, the same squadron crashed an F-35 for the first time after 17 years of flying the model in the sky.

It was the first full-blown crash of such a warplane that involved the ejection of a pilot and was classified as a "Class A mishap" – the result of either the complete destruction of the plane, more than £1.6million in damage or permanent disability of the crew.

In January 2022, a F-35C Lightning II fighter jet plummeted into the South China Sea after crashing on the deck of a US aircraft carrier.

F-35s are some of the world's most expensive and advanced fighter jets – known for their stealth, speed and aerodynamic body.

UK's RAF flies the same model as the missing jet, which operates on the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.

They describe it as an aircraft "capable of conducting air-to-surface, electronic warfare, intelligence gathering and air-to-air missions simultaneously".

The jet, which can reach 1.6 times the speed of sound, has technology which enables it to operate undetected in hostile airspace.

In 2021, the Air Force lost a £100million F-35B stealth jet in the Mediterranean after it crashed while taking off from the flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.


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A secret salvage operation conducted by the Royal Navy submarines, special forces and the US Navy located and recovered the wreckage before it fell into the wrong hands.

Military top brass feared the jet’s secret stealth technology could fall into Vladimir Putin's hands as the area is known to be closely monitored by the Russians.

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