US military F-35 fighter jet crashes in South Carolina: officials

Neither military nor local officials offer a cause for the crash

Reuters September 29, 2018
Smoke rises at the site of a F-35 jet crash in Beaufort, South Carolina, U.S., September 28, 2018 in this still image obtained from social media. PHOTO: REUTERS

A US military F-35B fighter jet crashed near the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina just before noon local time (1600 GMT) on Friday, local law officials and the US military said.

The pilot, the only person aboard the craft, ejected safely and was being checked for injuries, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office said.

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The jet that crashed was a Lockheed Martin F-35B, a short take-off/vertical landing version, said a US military official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Neither military nor local officials immediately offered a cause for the crash.

The crash occurred on the same day that the Pentagon announced an $11.5 billion contract for 141 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed, which lowers the price for the most common version of the stealthy jet by 5.4 percent.

It was not immediately known how old the jet that crashed was.

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Under the new contract signed on Friday, the next deliveries of F-35B jets will cost about $115 million each, military officials told Reuters.

The F-35B is the most expensive of three variants of the F-35, which also include the F-35A conventional take-off and landing version, and the F-35C, used aboard aircraft carriers.

Lockheed is the No. 1 US defense contractor.


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