The British Ministry of Defense Press Office confirmed Wednesday evening local time that F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighter jet from the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier has crashed.
Details remain scarce at this time, but a Britain’s F-35B jet, which was flying out of the UK’s flagship aircraft carrier, has crashed.
A Ministry of Defense spokesperson said: “A British F-35 pilot from HMS Queen Elizabeth ejected during routine flying operations in the Mediterranean this morning.
The incident occurred at 10:00 GMT over international waters and no other aircraft were involved.
“The pilot has been safely returned to the ship and an investigation has begun, so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
The UK formally announced its intention to acquire the F-35B Lightning in 2006. For many years, the country’s JSF program was known as Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA), which remained F-35B based until the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, which switched the British requirement to the F-35C. But with the ‘Queen Elizabeth’-class carrier design well advanced for STOVL, rather than the catapult and arrestor (‘cat and trap’) gear required for CV operations, JCA resorted back to the F-35B, at the same time increasingly becoming known as ‘JSF’ by program insiders.
Squadron Leader Steve Long became the first British pilot to fly an F-35, on January 26, 2010 and in July 2012 the government announced its decision to purchase an initial batch of 48 aircraft. The first of these was delivered on July 19, 2012, for trials work, a task 17 (Reserve) Squadron assumed in 2014.