US military asks public to help find missing $80M F-35 stealth jet after transponder failure; pilot ejected safely
A U.S. Air Force F-35 stealth fighter jet went missing on Monday when its transponder ceased functioning, according to official statements. Now the US military is asking the public to help find its missing $80M jet. Fortunately, the pilot safely ejected from the aircraft, but the plane’s whereabouts remain unknown.
The incident unfolded during a routine training mission near Utah’s Hill Air Force Base, with the pilot ejecting after reporting a total loss of communication and navigation capabilities.
We’re working with @MCASBeaufortSC to locate an F-35 that was involved in a mishap this afternoon. The pilot ejected safely. If you have any information that may help our recovery teams locate the F-35, please call the Base Defense Operations Center at 843-963-3600.
— Joint Base Charleston (@TeamCharleston) September 17, 2023
The news of the missing fighter jet has been circulating on social media platforms since early this morning. But one X (formerly Twitter) user who goes by the name Wall Street Silver thinks the story didn’t add up. “Why would the pilot eject if the plane could still fly?” the user asked.
A “stealth” jet’s transponder stopped working. So the pilot ejected from a plane that was capable of still flying in auto-pilot mode? But then they couldn’t track the F-35 because it’s transponder didn’t work and it is a “stealth” jet. Why would the pilot eject if the plane could still fly? Something is wrong with this story.”
A "stealth" jet's transponder stopped working.
So the pilot ejected from a plane that was capable of still flying in auto-pilot mode? But then they couldn't track the F-35 because it's transponder didn't work and it is a "stealth" jet.
Why would the pilot eject if the plane… pic.twitter.com/mmFanZS18N
— Wall Street Silver (@WallStreetSilv) September 18, 2023
Another ZeroHedge user said:
“AirTags are $25, what the hell is going on? How do you lose an F35? I’m in Missouri, my dog is at home in Florida, and I can pull his location up on a satellite map 24/7. something is amiss!”
Efforts to locate the missing aircraft are underway, involving a deployment of both aircraft and ground crews to the area. The exact cause of the transponder malfunction is currently under investigation.
The F-35 stands as a cutting-edge fifth-generation fighter jet, renowned for its exceptional maneuverability and stealthy design that renders it elusive to radar detection.
Losing an F-35 represents a significant setback for the U.S. Air Force, particularly given that the aircraft is still in development, and only a limited number have been delivered to the military.
Authorities are appealing to anyone who spots the missing plane to promptly report the sighting to the appropriate authorities.