F-35 jet's pilot ejected over South Carolina due to bad weather, but here's why it could not be tracked
The plane crashed into a wooded area in South Carolina about 60 miles from where the unidentified pilot parachuted
The search for a missing F-35 stealth fighter jet concluded after a debris field was located in South Carolina by authorities. Now, the pilot who ejected from the $100 million plane claimed he lost the plane in bad weather. Experts have claimed that he possibly bailed out before he could manage to activate its tracking system. The plane crashed into a wooded area in South Carolina about 60 miles from where the unidentified pilot parachuted.
“He’s unsure of where his plane crashed, said he just lost it in the weather,” a Charleston County Emergency Medical Services call posted by a meteorologist revealed a voice saying of the pilot. The pilot, who landed in a North Charleston residential neighbourhood, was rushed to a hospital for treatment, but has now been discharged.
Why couldn’t the jet be tracked?
As of now, military officials have only claimed that the incident stemmed from a “malfunction.” Longtime military aviation expert and consultant Richard Aboulafia said the pilot was possibly flying the jet without tracking capabilities activated. He likely ejected before he could activate any.
“If you turned on the onboard device it would be easily trackable,” Richard told New York Post. “But this is a stealth aircraft. If you don’t turn that particular device on it’s going to be hard to make contact. Most likely, he or she did not have a lot of time to react.”
At the time the jet went missing, authorities took to social media to seek the public’s help in finding it. Richard said such an effort was “unusual.” “But what is the harm? The onboard device has not been turned on, it’s not being tracked. So it makes perfect sense that they’re going to ask for help from people in the area who might have seen a jet heading in their direction,” he added. When the plane crashed, local residents reportedly heard a massive sound.
According to a May 2023 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the jet is part of the US Department of Defense’s most expensive weapons system program. Richard said that the plane is considered one of the top fighter jets in the world, even though it has its problems. “I understand the frustration with delays and cost overruns and whatever else,” he said. “But the fact is they can’t produce these fast enough for demand. And that’s the bottom line.”