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How the F-35 that crashed in South Carolina managed to fly 100 km without a pilot and why it lost communication

How the F-35 that crashed in South Carolina managed to fly 100 km without a pilot and why it lost communication

How the F-35 that crashed in South Carolina managed to fly 100 km without a pilot and why it lost communication

Following the crash of the modern F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, which occurred over the weekend in South Carolina, U.S, questions arose about how the ship could have flown without a pilot for 60 miles (100 kilometers) before crashing, why it lost communication, and how this might affect future production of the expensive ship. In this note we respond to these and other concerns.

The military authorities of U.S The F-35 fighter was reported missing on Sunday afternoon, after the pilot outside ejected from the ship.

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They then asked citizens for help in locating the modern aircraft. The message posted on social media said anyone with information about the matter should call a hotline.

Finally, the wreckage of the plane was found on Monday. The wreckage of the fighter F-35B They were in Williamsburg County, in Carolina southernspecifically two hours away Joint Base Charleston (JBC).

In this photo taken on November 18, 2022, a South Korean Air Force F-35 fighter jet drops a laser-guided bomb. (Photo from Brochure/Ministry of Defense of South Korea/AFP). (FLYER/)

The airplane F-35Bmade by LockheedMartin and operated by the Marine Corps since 2015, took off from Joint Base Charleston Sunday afternoon. It was one of two aircraft involved in a routine training flightmilitary spokesman Capt. Joe Leitner told reporters.

Shortly before 2pm, one of the pilots parachuted into the backyard of a house in Charleston, two defense officials said. The pilot, who was not identified, was taken to hospital in stable condition.

At 5pm, the Joint Base Charleston posted on social media that a “pilot ejected safely” after an “accident” involving an F-35. Authorities said they were searching for the ship in two lakes north of the base.

“If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of the F-35, please call our Base Defense Operations Center.”authorities wrote.

Only at 6:30 pm on Monday did the base announce that the plane had been located in the municipality of Williamsburg.

A US Air Force F-35 Lightning II aircraft is refueled by a KC-10 Extender aircraft over Poland on February 24, 2022. (AFP).

A US Air Force F-35 Lightning II aircraft is refueled by a KC-10 Extender aircraft over Poland on February 24, 2022. (AFP). (JOSÉ BARRON/)

When the pilot ejected, the plane was at an altitude of just 300 meters (1,000 feet) and about 2 kilometers north of Charleston International Airport, in a populated area, so the soldier parachuted into the courtyard of a residence, according to the AP agency. .

NBC News said military authorities have not yet explained why the pilot parachuted, but experts and former F-35 pilots said such a decision cannot be made lightly.

“Expulsion is a last minute decision”said David Berke, who served as commander of the Marine Corps’ first F-35 squadron in South Carolina from 2012 to 2014.

The AP agency explained that the Marine Corps’ F-35 variant differs from the Air Force and Navy versions because it can take off and land like a helicopter, allowing it to operate from amphibious assault ships. But it is also different because it is the only one of the three variants that It has an automatic ejection feature on its ejection seataccording to seat manufacturer Martin-Baker.

In July 2022, the Air Force temporarily grounded its F-35As due to concerns about ejection seats. Although the Air Force’s F-35A does not have an automatic ejection feature, some of the cartridges that initiate ejection were found to have problems, resulting in a grounding.

At that time, all F-35 ejection seats, including the Navy and Marine Corps variants, were inspected, something that continues today, the F-35 Joint Program Office said in a statement to AP. .

An American Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is displayed during the International Air and Space Fair (FIDAE) in Santiago, Chile, on April 5, 2018. (Photo by Martín BERNETTI/AFP).

An American Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is displayed during the International Air and Space Fair (FIDAE) in Santiago, Chile, on April 5, 2018. (Photo by Martín BERNETTI/AFP). (MARTIN BERNETTI/)

NBC News indicated that F-35s are equipped with transponders that allow them to track the aircraft. But authorities initially said the transponder of the lost ship seemed to not be working, but they don’t know why.

JJ Gertler, a senior analyst at Teal Group, a defense consulting firm, said the ejection seat’s ejection mechanism may have “cooked the electronics, cooked the cables, cut power to the transponder, among other things.”

He added that another possibility is that the transponder it may not have activated because the lost craft was flying alongside another lead F-35 and therefore would have turned off said device to prevent additional noise from interfering with the approach controller.

The F-35 fighter.  (AFP).

The F-35 fighter. (AFP).

Military officers also try to find out how the plane managed to keep flying for 100 kilometers instead of crashing almost immediately.

Jeremy Huggins, a spokesman for Joint Base Charleston, told NBC News that The plane was flying in autopilot mode when the pilot ejected..

Regarding the difficulty in locating the aircraft, Huggins told the Washington Post that the F-35 “has different skins and different designs that make it more difficult to detect than a normal plane,” and that the plane’s locator device was not operational for a reason that would be determined by the investigation.

A Norwegian F-35 fighter jet during NATO's 'Cold Response' exercise on March 22, 2022. (Photo by John THYS/AFP).

A Norwegian F-35 fighter jet during NATO’s ‘Cold Response’ exercise on March 22, 2022. (Photo by John THYS/AFP). (JOHN THYS/)

some South Carolina who was celebrating her son’s seventh birthday on Sunday, told NBC News they could see that The plane flew over them in an “inverted” position.

“Our kids always wave a little, so we said, ‘Look at the plane. “My God, it’s so low,” Adrian Truluck said. “And it was probably 100 feet above the treetops, and almost the other way around.”

“We could see the cover of the plane,” said her husband, Stephen Truluck.

The couple added that they heard a subtle noise of “noise”after the plane sighting, but They assumed it was thunder due to the stormy weather at that time.

After learning of the plane’s loss, the Trulucks called the military on Monday afternoon to report what they had seen on Sunday.

F-35.  (Photo: USAF)

F-35. (Photo: USAF)

The F-35 is the most advanced fighter in the US arsenal. There are a total of 972 aircraft built and plans to produce more than 3,500 for sale. The American press estimates that each plane costs around 100 million dollars. It is intended to be the main aircraft of the United States and its allies.

Lockheed Martin has delivered 190 F-35B variants to the Marine Corps.

After what happened in South CarolinaAll Marine Corps aircraft inside and outside the United States were grounded on Monday and Tuesday to allow units to “discuss aviation security issues and best practices,” the Pentagon said.

Dan Grazier, senior defense policy researcher at the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit federal watchdog, said the high-profile accident warranted a full investigation to determine whether it was caused by a simple problem or pointed to a problem. deepest part of the ship.

He said a preliminary report on an accident like the ship’s accident usually takes about 90 days, but a full report can take a year.

Source: Elcomercio

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