The plane has been recovered final month and it seems to be like it’s nonetheless just about intact.
A picture, taken by an unknown photographer, exhibiting the wreckage of the British F-35B that ditched within the Mediterranean Sea and was recovered by a chartered salvage ship, was leaked and began circulating on-line on Jan. 21, 2022. As we already extensively reported, the plane crashed whereas taking off from the HMS Queen Elizabeth plane service on November 17, 2021, because it couldn’t obtain sufficient pace to elevate off reportedly as a result of the engine ingested a “low cost plastic rain cowl” or an air consumption cowl.
The UK Ministry of Defence introduced on December 7 the completion of the operations for the restoration of the plane, which occurred with the assist of the Italian Navy and U.S. Navy. It took two weeks to find the wreck and one other week to carry it up, in line with defence sources talked about by British newspapers. The restoration effort was difficult by the placement the place the F-35 ditched, because it occurred in open water with depths that may exceed, in some areas, over 3,000 meters (about 10,000 toes), and by tough sea situations whereas the operations had been going down.
Wanting on the picture, which reveals the wreck the other way up on the deck of the salvage ship because it was being transported to an unspecified port, it appears that evidently the F-35B continues to be partly intact. Some panels are damaged or lacking, with the engine nozzle and vertical tail fins probably damaged too (they’ll’t be seen clearly), however the airframe was not made in items by the crash. Because the leaked video confirmed, the F-35 left the ski soar with a really low pace, so the influence forces on the floor of the ocean weren’t sufficient to detach main sections of the airframe.
This additionally confirms the official statements about all of the wreckage being recovered and “no hazard or compromise to delicate gear on the plane”. Even when the probabilities of one other nation discovering and exploiting any of the airplane’s stays had been small, the UK MoD didn’t wish to take any possibilities for an excellent purpose. Nationwide Safety Adviser Sir Stephen Lovegrove, as reported by the UK Defence Journal, informed the Commons Defence Committee on Dec. 6, 2021:
“The restoration of the flight information recorder and the wreckage are actually important for an correct investigation to find out the causes of the crash. […] We’re conscious of Russian undersea capabilities, and you’re fairly proper to establish them as being state-of-the-art. The sorts of precautions and operations that we’re endeavor for the time being are designed at the very least partially to make sure that the know-how of the F-35B stays as confidential as you desire to it to be. These safety elements are very a lot on the prime of our thoughts. My understanding is that the specialists know the place the plane is.”
It’s price noting, nonetheless, that whereas the plane would possibly seem one way or the other intact, the harm executed by salt water whereas the plane was submerged for weeks might need made unusable many of the plane’s methods, decreasing the dangers of adversaries gathering helpful information within the hypothetical occasion they managed to get to the wreck earlier than the Royal Navy.
The misplaced F-35B was recognized as ZM152, with modex 018 and development quantity BK18, and the leaked picture seems to verify this, because the serial will be seen close to the tail regardless of the standard of the picture. The plane was reportedly some of the just lately delivered British F-35B, with its first flight reported in June 2019. The identical data was additionally discovered within the F-35 plane database hosted by the web site F-16.internet.
The picture was initially posted on Twitter by few customers who later eliminated it claiming that they weren’t concerned in taking the picture within the first place nor being the primary to leak it on-line. The picture is nonetheless nonetheless being shared on Reddit, Fb and different socials. The truth that many customers later deleted the picture may be associated to the implications of the leak of the crash video, which led a male crew member of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s ship firm to be arrested.