CSG21

HMS Queen Elizabeth: British F-35 crashes in Mediterranean

The aircraft, worth roughly £88.8m, is from the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier which is deployed on Carrier Strike Group 21.

A UK F-35 jet from HMS Queen Elizabeth has crashed during flying operations over the Mediterranean.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the F-35B fighter jet "ditched in the sea shortly after takeoff from HMS Queen Elizabeth".

"I'm glad to say that the pilot was recovered and is okay and we will recover the aircraft," he said.

"It hasn't affected our ongoing operations, which we will continue, and we'll obviously investigate the cause of that accident."

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) also confirmed the incident on Twitter and said the British pilot, who ejected from their aircraft, has safely returned to the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier.

They added that an investigation has begun into the incident.

The Carrier Strike Group (CSG21) - led by HMS Queen Elizabeth - is in its final month of what is its maiden deployment.

F-35Bs on board aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth are prepared to be scrambled, when necessary, and have had more than 30 live interactions with the Russian military during the current deployment.

There are both British and American jets on board the Queen Elizabeth-class warship - seven from the UK and 10 from the United States.

In March 2020, defence minister Jeremy Quin stated the price of an F-35B was $115 million (around £88.8 million when using UK Government March 2020 exchange rates), covering airframe and engine cost.

Watch: Timeline of UK's F-35B fighter fleet as it hits 10,000 flight hours.