The Marines Lost A $90-Million F-35B Jet. Have You Seen It? [Update]

A US marine checks a F-35B fighter jet during a press tour of the USS Makin Island
A US marine checks a F-35B fighter jet during a press tour of the USS Makin Island

A US marine checks a F-35B fighter jet during a press tour of the USS Makin Island

An F-35B fighter jet is currently missing following a mishap that forced its pilot to eject near Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday. Have you seen it? Because the U.S. Marines are having a dilly of a pickle trying to locate its $90-million fighter jet.

Updated Tuesday, September 19, 2023 8:00 a.m. The Joint Base Charleston announced via X Monday night that a debris field has been located.

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“If you have any information that may help our recovery teams locate the F-35, please call the Base Defense Operations Center,” the post said.

The base is working with the FAA to locate the missing plane. The FAA declined to comment, referring the matter to the military.

“We are currently still gathering more information and assessing the situation,” a Corps spokesperson said. “The mishap will be under investigation.”

Oof. It seems the current theory is this F-35 may have ditched into the drink, either Lake Moultrie or Lake Marion in South Carolina. In that case, it’s only a matter of time before the plane is located, as neither lake exceeds 75 feet of depth.

This isn’t exactly the first time an F-35 has dumped into water. Last year, the U.S. Navy managed to fish one out of the South China Sea at a depth of 12,000 feet. The British managed to find one of their crashed F-35s in the Mediterranean in 2021.

And of course, this multi-million dollar plan comes with locators and GPS trackers that should make finding it a breeze. Still, the Joint Base put out the call on X (formerly known as Twitter) to see if anyone had spotted the jet:

Posting on Twitter that you’re looking for something is more appropriate for say, finding the right pair of shoes for an outfit, or announcing your parakeet has gone missing. And, unfortunately, if you do find the F-35, you are unlikely to get to keep the jet, as the U.S. government rarely adheres to the Supreme Court Decision Finders v. Keepers.

The F-35 has been a controversial jet ever since Lockheed Martin started cranking these fighters out back in 2015. One of the most technologically advanced jet fighters ever build, the F-35B in particular seemed to have a problem during those super neat vertical takeoffs and landing. Three dropped out of the sky last year while attempting the maneuver. Several high profile crashes have occurred since then, but nothing out of the realm of normality, according to the U.S. Air Force.

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