On Jan. 24, 2022, U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II crashes while landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the South China Sea. The pilot ejected safely from the aircraft. Seven other sailors aboard the ship were injured and the fate of the aircraft was unknown.
Video footage from the USS Carl Vinson’s Pilot’s Landing Aid Television (PLAT) camera has just been leaked online, showing what happened to the F-35C
The video leaked today was posted on Reddit and shows both the PLAT camera video and another point of view from the aircraft carrier’s island.
We can see the Lightning II coming in with a rapidly increasing sink rate just before the touchdown, which prompted the Landing Signal Officer (LSO) or “Paddles” to start screaming on the radio “power” and then “wave off, wave off” to instruct the pilot to abort the landing and go around immediately.
As the aircraft carrier’s crew calls for the fire emergency, the video switches to the other camera, which shows the aftermath of the crash.
The second camera’s footage begins as the LSO calls the pilot for more power on the final approach, before issuing the desperate “wave off”. The camera shows that the pilot bailed out as the aircraft went completely sideways in the middle of the deck and was already engulfed in flames.
The F-35 then proceeded out of control and fell straight in the sea, while some burning pieces flew towards other aircraft parked on the deck, with the emergency crew quickly intervening to put the fires out.
The service has yet to provide any other additional details about the incident.
The Navy said the cause of the “inflight mishap” was under investigation.
The crash occurred while the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson Strike Group was involved in a high-profile naval exercise with the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln Strike Group, the USS Essex Amphibious Ready Group, the USS America Amphibious Ready Group, and a Japanese Maritime Self Defense helicopter carrier.
The participation of so many air capable and amphibious U.S. Navy ships operating together in the South China Sea highlights the U.S. Navy’s capabilities in a region where China continues to make maritime territorial claims.