By: Paul Sonne, Sept. 28, 2018 (Washington Post)
The U.S. military suffered its first crash of an F-35 aircraft in the 17 year history of the high-profile fighter jet program, the same day the Pentagon announced it had struck a deal with defense contractor Lockheed Martin to drive down costs for the next batch of planes to a historical low.
The crash of the Marine Corps variant of the F-35, known as the F-35B Lightning II, occurred Friday at 11:45 a.m. outside Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina, according to the Marine Corps. The service did not give a suspected cause for the crash, saying the incident remained under investigation.
“The U.S. Marine pilot safely ejected from the single-seat aircraft and is currently being evaluated by medical personnel,” the Marines said in a statement. “There were no civilian injuries.”
The aircraft, which cost more than $100 million, belonged to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, which trains Marine pilots for combat with the F-35.