U.S. Navy Sending Salvage Ship, Crew To Help Recover Crashed British F-35B

November 24, 2021 4:51 PM
An F35B Lightning II pilots prepared to take off from HMS Queen Elizabeth (R-08) on Aug. 14, 2021. UK Royal Navy Photo

The U.S. Navy is helping the United Kingdom recover its F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter that crashed in the Mediterranean last week.

A U.K. government spokesperson confirmed to USNI News that the U.S. Navy is dispatching a ship and crew to help with the deep salvage mission.

Naval Sea Systems Command did not immediately respond to an inquiry from USNI News about the ship and crew aiding the mission.

Italy is also assisting with the mission and the aircraft has not yet been recovered, USNI News understands.

The British F-35B had been operating from U.K. Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) when the pilot ejected and the aircraft crashed in the Mediterranean last week.

“A British F-35 pilot from HMS Queen Elizabeth ejected during routine flying operations in the Mediterranean this morning,” the U.K. Ministry of Defense said in a statement at the time.
“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.”

Queen Elizabeth is wrapping up its maiden deployment, which featured a blended air wing with a U.S. Marine Corps squadron of F-35Bs and a Royal Air Force squadron of F-35Bs.

The Royal Air Force’s 617 Squadron “The Dambusters” is billed as an RAF squadron, but includes both RAF and Royal Navy personnel. The MoD last week did not specify the branch of the pilot flying the F-35B that crashed.

The U.S. Marine Corps squadron – the “Wake Island Avengers” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 – left Queen Elizabeth on Wednesday for Rota, Spain, to start heading back to the U.S.

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne is a reporter for USNI News. She previously covered the Navy for Inside Defense and reported on politics for The Hill.
Follow @MalShelbourne

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