Royal Navy in Race Against Time with the Russians to Recover Crashed F-35 After Wreckage is Found in the Mediterranean (excerpt)
(Source: The Portsmouth News; posted Dec. 01, 2021)
By Tom Cotterill
Recovery teams hunting for an F-35 which crashed moments after taking off from HMS Queen Elizabeth have found the wreckage of the stealth jet, MPs have been told.
The state-of-the-art warplane plummeted into the Mediterranean last week moments after launching from the ski ramp of the Portsmouth-based aircraft carrier.
The pilot, from the RAF’s 617 Squadron, ejected safely from the jet before it crashed and is currently still undergoing medical assessments.
Now top officials from the Ministry of Defence have revealed that they know the location of the £100m jet – but are in a race against time with the Russians, who are eager to secure the secretive tech inside the F-35.
Speaking during the Commons defence committee meeting yesterday, national security adviser Sir Stephen Lovegrove said the Russians had hi-tech gear which could be used to collect confidential kit from the aircraft.
Speaking to MPs about the situation, he said: “Clearly the swift recovery of the aircraft is what we would like to do and we are working closely with allies on the mechanics of that. We haven’t got the plane up yet.
“We are aware of Russian undersea capabilities, and you are quite right to identify them as being state-of-the-art.” (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Portsmouth News website.
UK Experts 'Know’ Location of Crashed F-35 Jet As Security Aspects Prompt 'Cautious' Recovery
(Source: Sputnik International; posted Dec. 01, 2021)
After a video surfaced on social media apparently showing an F-35 fighter jet of the Royal Air Force from the UK flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth crashing into the Mediterranean during a routine operation, with the pilot ejecting; the British Ministry of Defence issued a statement confirming an investigation into the incident.
A UK Royal Airforce F-35 fighter jet seen crashing into the Mediterranean Sea on 17 November has been found in a leaked video, reported the Daily Mail.
“My understanding is that the experts know where the aircraft is,” National Security Adviser Sir Stephen Lovegrove was cited as saying on Tuesday.
The aircraft, one of the eight F-35s and 10 US Marine Corps F-35s currently aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, fell over the edge into the water instead of gaining speed, with the pilot ejecting.
A leaked, 16-second clip of the incident, taken possibly from a surveillance camera, was copied using a smartphone and posted on Twitter, according to the outlet, with a probe likely to be opened into how it became public.
A statement by the UK Ministry of Defence Press Office, stated that the pilot, who sustained minor injuries, had been rescued and returned to the ship following a successful ejection.
Sir Stephen Lovegrove was [quoted] as saying in the UK House of Commons Defence Committee that it was “premature” to comment on the reasons for the accident. Earlier reports suggested that one cause of the crash could have been a rain cover left on the plane, which was then sucked into the jet’s engine. Another report, cited by the Daily Mail, reported that a plug in the engine during takeoff might have triggered the incident.
“The recovery of the flight data recorder and the wreckage are really vital for an accurate investigation to determine the causes of the crash. Clearly the swift recovery of the aircraft is what we would like to do and we are working closely with allies on the mechanics of that. We haven't got the plane up yet,” the UK National Security Adviser was quoted as saying.
The US-designed plane contained sensitive technology onboard such as top-secret radar and sensors, allowing it to fly “unseen” in a hostile environment supersonic speeds. This has sparked concerns that Britain’s rivals or potential adversaries might be searching for it. The underwater race to find the wreckage of the jet was reportedly carried out clandestinely jointly with the US, using divers, miniature submarines and inflatable bags.
“We are aware of Russian undersea capabilities, and you are quite right to identify them as being state of the art. The kinds of precautions and operations that we are undertaking at the moment are designed at least in part to ensure that the technology of the F-35 remains as confidential as you would like it to be. Those security aspects are very much at the top of our mind,” added Lovegrove.
The F-35B is believed to be the first such jet lost by Britain, raising concerns about the quality of the cutting-edge warplane, which boasts stealth and intelligence-gathering capabilities. Britain currently has 24 such planes and is on track to buy [a total of] 138 for £9.1 billion from America’s Lockheed Martin.