- A US Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter crashed in South Carolina on Friday, less than one day after an F-35B made its combat debut in Afghanistan.
- It’s the first F-35 crash in the history of the F-35 program, though there have been several other incidents like fires and equipment malfunctions.
A US Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter crashed on Friday in South Carolina just outside Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, several news outlets including ABC News reported, citing military officials.
The military aircraft, recognized as America’s most expensive weapon, went down 5 miles from the air station just before noon ET, The Herald reported, citing the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and the Marine Corps. A spokesman for the sheriff’s office told the newspaper that the pilot ejected safely but was being evaluated for injuries.
The Marine Corps described the crash as a Class A mishap, a serious incident involving more than $2 million in damages or the destruction of the aircraft.
Military plane crash in Beaufort near Joe Allen Drive area. Appears to have crashed on a bluff/island owned by Clarendon Plantations. Not usually many people over there. Praying for the safety of all involved! pic.twitter.com/dM5a8v2lg1
— Sam Richardson (@SamRichardsonAM) September 28, 2018
The air station’s website says it is home to five F/A-18 squadrons and one squadron of F-35Bs, according to The Herald.
On Thursday, a US Marine Corps F-35B achieved a major milestone in Afghanistan, making its combat debut against Taliban targets.
While there have been accidents, fires, and incidents involving the F-35 in recent years – such as when an F-35B burst into flames two years ago – this marks the first F-35 crash, the Marine Corps told Business Insider.