F-35B fighter jet Turkey planning to buy crashes in South Carolina
A U.S. military F-35B fighter jet crashed near the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina state of the United States just before noon local time on Friday, the U.S. military said.
A Pentagon official said the crash is believed to be the first crash of an F-35B during a training or operational flight according to Stars and Stripes website, a U.S. military's independent news source.
The jet that crashed was a Lockheed Martin F-35B, a short take-off/vertical landing version, a U.S. military official told to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The pilot, the only person aboard the craft, ejected safely and was being checked for injuries, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office said.
The F-35 program, the most expensive weapon in U.S. military history, has been marred by delays, cost overruns and other mechanical issues.
Turkey has ordered 100 F-35 fighter jets and invested more than $1 billion into the joint programme. Some ten Turkish companies are significantly involved in the project.
A U.S. opposition to the delivery of F-35s to Turkey has increased tensions by Turkish plans to acquire the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system, prompting concerns that sensitive F-35 data could be compromised.
Turkey’s refusal to release American pastor Andrew Brunson has also aggravated the situation, and the United States has imposed economic sanctions on Turkey since Aug. 10.