The pilot, who is part of the crew of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, has already returned to the ship

A British Royal Navy fighter crashed shortly after take-off last week, allegedly due to a plastic rain cover that was not removed prior to flight.

The incident took place last Wednesday, when the pilot of a British F-35 jet was forced to eject during routine operations in the Mediterranean Sea. The man, who is part of the crew of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, was found safely and has since returned to the ship, according to a statement from the British Defense Ministry.

The crash, which involved no other aircraft or warships from any other country, led to the opening of an “urgent investigation” focused on a potential technical or human error, according to British newspaper “The Independent”.

This week, the British “The Sun” said that the crash was due to the fact that, before take-off, a plastic rain cover had not been removed. The cover was said to have been sucked into the F-35’s engine and the pilot, who “knew almost immediately” of the problem, tried to abort take-off. Without success, he was forced to eject, a source told the same newspaper.

This information has not been confirmed by the British authorities.

long list of problems

With a value of over 100 million pounds (equivalent to 119 million euros), the F-35 is the first British aircraft to use highly advanced and sensitive “stealth technology”. The “fifth generation” F-35 is one of the most expensive aerial weapons platforms in the world. The UK has signed a £9 billion (€10.7 billion) deal to buy 28 aircraft by 2025.

With plans to acquire 138 F-35s, the UK would be the third largest operator of jets produced by Lockheed Martin, behind the US and Japan. Both lost aircraft in accidents, according to “CNN”.

In September 2018, a US Navy F-35B crashed in South Carolina, the first crash of an F-35. In April of the following year, a Japanese F-35A crashed into the Pacific Ocean, killing the pilot. Later, the Japanese Ministry of Defense attributed the accident to “space disorientation”. In May 2020, a US Air Force F-35A crashed in Florida during routine training.

In addition, the Pentagon recognized 275 different failures in the system and the US Marine Corps suspended operations of its version of the aircraft, which is the same used by the United Kingdom, after a system malfunction.

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