An F-35 has crashed near MCAS Beaufort in South Carolina. It is presumed to have been an F-35B belonging to the Marines as the type is stationed at the base. Some reports state the pilot ejected, but this has not been confirmed.
UPDATE 10:47am PDT: The aircraft belonged to the resident F-35B training squadron VMFAT-501 and the pilot did safely eject and is being treated for any injuries. The crash happened around five miles from the airfield.
This is the first total loss crash event—and possibly the first ejection—involving an F-35 in the program's history, which includes nearly 12 years of flying (18 years if you count the JSF X-plane fly-off). Just a day ago, on September 27th, 2018 USMC F-35Bs flying off the USS Essex made the American Joint Strike Fighter's combat debut over Afghanistan.
The news comes as the Department of Defense is enduring a terrible year for major aircraft mishaps, with a T-6 Trainer crashing just last week.
We will update this post as soon as more details become available.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com