From ExtremeTech: Authorities are asking the public to assist in finding a missing F-35 fighter jet following a “mishap” Sunday afternoon. Although the jet's pilot appears to have landed safely after ejecting themselves mid-flight, the status of the aircraft itself is unknown.
Joint Base Charleston, a United States defense facility in South Carolina, shared via X (formerly known as Twitter) this weekend that it was working with Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort (MCAS Beaufort) to locate a missing F-35. In a follow-up post published on Facebook, Joint Base Charleston specified that the jet in question was a F-35B Lightning II belonging to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 501. While the pilot is known to be in stable condition following a safe ejection, the military is struggling to find its aircraft, going so far as to ask civilians to assist in its ongoing recovery efforts.
“If you have any information that may help our recovery teams locate the F-35, please call the Base Defense Operations Center,” Joint Base Charleston’s tweet reads.
The idea that a 25-ton fighter jet could have gone missing within the confines of the United States has the public in a mix of confusion and outrage. “Glad the pilot is safe, but how do we not know where the aircraft is?” one Facebook user commented Sunday. Representative Nancy Mace, a South Carolina Congresswoman, had similar questions before and after a briefing with the Marine Corps. “How in the hell do you lose an F-35?” she tweeted. "How is there not a tracking device, and we’re asking the public to what, find a jet and turn it in? We knew the F-35 was stealth, but this is ridiculous.”
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