On Monday, an F-35 stealth fighter fell to the bottom of the South China Sea after a “landing mishap”, as reported by the Navy. Now, the U.S. finds itself in a race against China to recover the warplane in order to prevent its advanced technology from falling into enemy hands.
The $100m fighter jet is the second F-35 lost overboard in three months.
Just last year, Britain found itself in the same situation, racing against Russian forces to retrieve a Royal Air Force F-35B from the Mediterranean. With the help of US and Italian forces, the F-35 jet was successfully recovered without any of its technology being compromised.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Brenda Way, spoke out on the most recent overboard stealth jet, saying, “The status of the aircraft is currently under investigation as are the factors involved in the mishap.”
On Sunday, two U.S. Carrier Strike Groups began recovery operations. At the same time, Taiwan reported an advance of the Chinese air force.