A British F-35B pilot flying from the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth was forced to eject during a crash that occurred while the ship was operating in the Mediterranean Sea.
The British defense ministry said the crash occurred on Wednesday morning, adding that the pilot was was rescued and returned to the ship.
A probe into the accident is already underway and the defense ministry said it “would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
The jet crashed shortly after taking off, British media reports quoted UK defense secretary Ben Wallace as saying.
While the MoD did not specify, the jet was likely one of eight F-35Bs from the 617 Squadron, the Dambusters, which deployed with the carrier strike group for its maiden deployment in May this year. US Marine Corps F-35Bs are also operating from HMS Queen Elizabeth during the tour.
The loss of a fighter worth over $100 million is an expensive setback for the UK, which currently has 48 airframes on order. The exact number of the fifth-generation jets that will be flown by both the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy is yet to be determined.