$90-Million F-35 Fighter Jet Crashes Straight Out Of The Factory

Photo: CBS / YouTube
Photo: CBS / YouTube

The Department of Defense is probably looking at Lockheed Martin’s refund policy after a brand-new F-35 fighter jet crashed on Tuesday afternoon. The recently built aircraft was being transferred from an assembly plant in Fort Worth, Texas to Edwards Air Force Base in California. The F-35B slammed into a hillside near Albuquerque International Sunport in New Mexico.

A pilot from the Defense Contract Management Agency was at the F-35B’s controls at the time of the incident. The plane had refueled at Kirtland Air Force Base, just adjacent to the airport, before the crash. The pilot ejected from the fighter and was transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital with serious injuries, ABC News reports. Two civilians on the ground were evaluated but not hospitalized. The Associated Press spoke with an eyewitness:


Patrick White, who was driving in the area at the time of the crash, told AP that he saw the aircraft trailing low to the ground, kicking up a cloud of dirt and dust. He said it briefly disappeared from his line of sight, and then he saw “an enormous plume of black smoke.”

When he drove past the crash, he said he saw a piece of the fighter jet in the middle of the road.

It’s difficult for mishaps with the Lockheed Martin F-35 to go unnoticed when the program costs the government north of $1 trillion. Last September, a Marine Corps pilot ejected from an F-35B during a training flight in South Carolina. The pilot ejected safely, but the plane went missing. It took over 30 hours to find the wreckage, which was worth $90 million to roll off the assembly line.

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