The United States’ military is on the hunt for an F-35 fighter jet that has gone missing following an incident that forced the pilot to eject from the advanced stealth aircraft over South Carolina. Bloomberg News: Emergency response teams are trying to find what’s left of the F-35B Lightning II jet, which suffered what the military called a “mishap” on Sunday afternoon, according to social media posts by Joint Base Charleston, an air base in South Carolina. The unidentified pilot ejected safely and was taken to a local hospital in a stable condition. Joint Base Charleston called on the public to cooperate with military and civilian authorities as the search for the F-35 jet continues. The air base said it was working with Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort to search for the plane north of North Charleston around Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, based on its last-known location.
Lockheed Martin is the manufacturer behind the F-35, a single-seat fighter craft used by militaries around the world. The aircraft was a vertical take-off version used by in the US Marine Corps, and the jet is popular for its stealth qualities that make it difficult to detect by radar. The F-35 program, the most expensive US weapons program ever, is projected to cost $400 billion in development and acquisition, plus an additional $1.2 trillion to operate and maintain the fleet over more than 60 years. Each jet can cost more than $160 million, depending on the variant.