The US Navy had a very expensive accident last week when one of its stealth aircraft crash-landed into the ocean. It has caused major issues for the military which is trying to salvage the aircraft and pull it out of the sea before some of its technology falls into the hands of other governments. While US Navy plane crashes aren’t exactly rare, this one is particularly problematic because of the actual technology on board and the location of the crash. Now we have some images from the crash itself, photos of the plane actually hitting the water, and what it looks like to lose nine figures worth of government tech in just a couple of seconds.
We are getting a photo of the US Navy plane, a Lockheed F-35C taking a dip in the South China Sea here. The picture was captured after it crashed off the deck of an aircraft carrier and right before it became fully submerged in the water. It’s rare to get this kind of glimpse at such a brutal accident for the US Navy, but the government has confirmed this is the real thing. Check it out:
The original US Navy plane crash of the F-35C took place a week ago, last Monday off the deck of the USS Carl Vinson which was performing operations in the South China Sea. The plane apparently attempted to land after a mission but something went wrong and it ended up not making the correct maneuver and ending up overboard. The seven crew members aboard were able to eject from the plane before it became fully submerged. From the photo, you can see that the cockpit and seat are missing from the front of the craft. There were no fatalities among the crew, but injuries were reported.
The issue at hand for the US Navy plane is that the technology on board the Lockheed F-35C is considered some of the most advanced and top-secret the military has at its disposal right now. The concern among officials was that if they weren’t able to retrieve the plane in time, the Chinese government and military would be interested in finding out what technology was a part of the plane. Part of the $100 million price tag on the craft was the tech onboard, making it a priority to retrieve before it fell into the hands of another government. Chinese officials, for their part, have said they had no interest in anything onboard the US Navy plane. Though I suppose we have to take that with a moderate grain of salt.
As of this writing, the US Navy plane hasn’t been reported to have been retrieved. And apparently, efforts to do so will be complicated seeing as how China has claimed authority over this area of water. Getting additional hardware in place to begin the recovery effort isn’t necessarily easy considering it’s currently sitting at the bottom of the ocean. The Lockheed F-35C is meant for stealth missions in enemy territory which can include surveillance but also has the ability to perform targeted strikes as well. The US Navy plane crash is still a developing situation and there is some chance the Navy isn’t able to retrieve the craft.