The jet belonging to the 58th Fighter Squad crashed at around 9:30pm local time while conducting a “routine” night training flight, Eglin Air Force Base in Florida said.
The pilot ejected to safety and is in stable condition. The crash did not cause any damage on the ground, the airbase noted. An investigation has been launched into the incident.
NEWS RELEASE cont. At the time of the accident, the pilot was participating in a routine night training sortie. First responders from the 96th Test Wing are on the scene and the site is secured. The accident is under investigation. There was no loss of life or damage to civilian
— Eglin Air Force Base (@TeamEglin) May 20, 2020
This is the second aircraft lost at Eglin after a F-22 Raptor fighter crashed on the test and training range last Friday. The pilot also successfully ejected and was rescued.
The F-35 project has a troubled history, with numerous delays in production, and a myriad of design and performance flaws uncovered during testing.
The aircraft’s production was further impeded by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The plane’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, was forced to cut somewhere between 18 and 24 jets from the 141 set to be delivered his year, according to the company’s vice president for the F-35 program, Greg Ulmer, as cited by Defense News.
Header: FILE PHOTO A US Air Force F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft. April 2017. Christine Groening / US Air Force / AFP