US Navy in race against China to recover high-tech fighter jet that fell into the sea

The $100m (€88.45m) F-35 stealth fighter fell into the sea and now the US Navy must reach it before the Chinese 

Last Monday, January 24, a $100m (€88.45m) F-35 stealth fighter slid into the South China Sea from the deck of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson. This incident was described by the US Navy as a ‘landing mishap’.

As a result, the US Navy is now involved in a race against time to recover their state-of-the-art fighter jet before the Chinese can reach it.

A spokesperson for the US 7th fleet told, “The U.S. Navy is making recovery operations arrangements for the F-35C aircraft involved in the mishap aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in the South China Sea, Jan. 24”, adding, “We cannot speculate on what the PRC’s intentions are on this matter”.

Brenda Way, a spokesperson for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, told The War Zone, “The status of the aircraft is currently under investigation, as are the factors involved in the mishap”.
The F-35C is the US military’s most sophisticated aircraft, and they would not want it to fall into the hands of the Chinese. Its futuristic technology would be a dream for the scientists from the People’s Republic of China to delve into. Among other things, it is equipped with the latest radar-avoiding technology.
A statement about the incident to US Naval Institute News, read, “An F-35C Lightning II assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, embarked aboard USS (CVN 70) had a landing mishap and impacted the flight deck, and subsequently fell to the water during routine flight operations”.

“Impact to the flight deck was superficial and all equipment for flight operations is operational. The pilot safely ejected from the aircraft and was recovered via U.S. military helicopter. The pilot is in stable condition. There were seven total sailors injured”, it added.

According to the Pentagon, operations began in the disputed waters of the South China Sea last Sunday 23, involving two U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Groups, led by the Carl Vinson, and USS Abraham Lincoln. Tensions are high in the area as China continues to lay claim to Taiwan.
F-35 stealth fighter aircraft had been deployed on the carrier to bolster US air presence in the area, after increased incursions into Taipei‘s airspace by Chinese military planes.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at