BX Joint Base Charleston finds itself embroiled in an unusual predicament, as one of its prized Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II fighter jets has seemingly vanished over the Carolinas
The Ejection Mishap
In a recent report released by The National Pulse, in September 18, 2023, this state-of-the-art, vertical takeoff-capable aircraft, valued at around $80 million, was lost during an unprecedented ejection incident at BX Joint Base Charleston. While material losses can be recouped, the safety of the pilot involved remains paramount. This incident underscores the complexity and risk of operating cutting-edge military technology, leaving many questions unanswered.
The disappearing act of the F-35B Lightning II in BX Joint Base Charleston can be attributed to a pilot’s ejection while the jet was still on autopilot. Thankfully, the pilot escaped unharmed and is currently in stable condition at a local medical center. The exact cause of this “mishap,” as described by BX Joint Base Charleston, remains undisclosed, leaving room for speculation. This incident sheds light on the challenges and risks inherent in handling advanced military equipment, where a minor misstep can result in substantial material losses.
As the F-35B Lightning II remains elusive, a concentrated search effort is underway near Lake Moultrie, a vast body of water in South Carolina. With depths of up to 75 feet and a width of 14 miles, this lake presents a formidable challenge for recovery teams. Despite the complex task at hand of BX Joint Base Charleston, modern technology offers some reassurance. Vehicle tracking and satellite guidance should provide a rough estimate of the jet’s location. However, complications arise due to the jet’s non-functional transponder at the time of the incident, making the search a daunting endeavor.
READ ALSO: Hurricane Lee Dissipates, Life-Threatening Surf Persists; Global Warming Could Affect Hurricane Activity
The Search for the Missing Jet
According to the report published by The Autopian, while the F-35B Lightning II’s disappearance is a unique event, it’s not the first time a high-tech military aircraft has gone temporarily missing at BX Joint Base Charleston. Just last year, an F-35C pilot ended up in the South China Sea after a deck mishap on the USS Carl Vinson. Unlike this recent incident, that pilot survived, but it took over a month to recover the wreckage. Thankfully, modern technology and a more populated area should expedite the search process this time around. Nonetheless, the mystery surrounding the lost F-35B Lightning II in BX Joint Base Charleston continues, leaving many anxiously awaiting its discovery.
If you live in the BX Joint Base Charleston S.C. area and have any information that could aid the recovery effort, please contact the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Public Affairs Office at 252-466-3827. In the meantime, the search for this multimillion-dollar mechanical bird continues, reminding us of the challenges and uncertainties that come with pushing the boundaries of military technology.