British F35 pilot ejects as stealth jet crashes into Mediterranean

17 November 2021, 15:18 | Updated: 17 November 2021, 16:28

A British F35 jet has crashed into the Mediterranean.
A British F35 jet has crashed into the Mediterranean. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

A British F35 jet has crashed into the Mediterranean sea and the pilot has been forced to eject from the aircraft.

The fighter jet, estimated to be worth around £100m, crashed into the water on Wednesday morning at around 10am UK time, the Ministry of Defence said.

The pilot, who is onboard the £3 billion warship HMS Queen Elizabeth, was safely returned to the ship after being forced to eject during routine flying operations.

A spokesman for the MoD confirmed the pilot has been checked over by medics and is back on the carrier.

An investigation has begun into the circumstances around the crash, so the MoD said it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest and most powerful vessel ever constructed for the Royal Navy, and it is capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft.

Its flight deck comes in at an enormous four acres and there are state-of-the-art weaponry and communications systems, five gyms, a chapel and a medical centre onboard.

The 65,000-tonne Royal Navy flagship is returning to the UK from its maiden deployment, which included exercises with the Indian military.

It was part of the carrier strike group's deployment to the Indo-Pacific amid heightened tensions with China in the region.

Jets from the vessel previously participated in strikes against the remnants of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The jets are operated by the renowned 617 Squadron, also known as the "Dambusters" squadron.

Earlier this month three more F35 jets were delivered to the UK, bringing the fleet to 24 aircraft.

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According to reports, six more jets will arrive in 2022 and seven more will arrive in 2023 with an expectation that all of the 48 in the first batch will be delivered by the end of 2025.