UK submarines, divers in race against Russians to find crashed F35 stealth fighter jet: Report
- Britain's ministry of defence earlier said that the jet crashed in an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean Sea, with the pilot safely ejecting and returning to the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The United Kingdom's royal navy submarines are racing against time to recover a £100 million jet with “top-secret" stealth technology that crashed into the Mediterranean on Wednesday morning, reported Daily Mail. The UK submarines are scrambling to recover the next-generation F35 jet from the bottom of the sea before Russia could find it, the report said.
Britain's ministry of defence earlier said that the jet crashed in an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean Sea, with the pilot safely ejecting and returning to the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. Without providing further details, the ministry said that an official probe was launched into the incident.
"A British F35 pilot from HMS Queen Elizabeth ejected during routine flying operations in the Mediterranean this morning," a spokesperson for the defence ministry said.
"The pilot has been safely returned to the ship and an investigation has begun, so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."
The report suggests that the operation involving divers and miniature submarines to recover the jet in shrouded in secrecy as the radar of F35s is hugely sensitive which allows the jet to fly "unseen" in hostile territory and could be valuable for Russia.
The multi-role fighter is capable of evading the enemy by flying undetected and entering contested airspace. It can provide close air support, carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions due to its advanced electronic warfare system. The stealth jets also serve as an information and communications gateway, sharing their operational picture with the ground, sea and air assets, according to Lockheed Martin.
The F35s, onboard the 3 billion-pound HMS Queen Elizabeth, previously participated in strikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, according to news agencies.
(With inputs from agencies)