Royal Air Force Lockheed-Martin F-35B Lightning II stealth jet crashes into the Mediterranean Sea. The pilot ejected safely and was rescued.
A Ministry of Defense spokesperson said: “A British F-35 pilot from HMS Queen Elizabeth ejected during routine flying operations in the Mediterranean this morning.
The incident occurred at 10:00 GMT over international waters and no other aircraft were involved.
“The pilot has been safely returned to the ship and an investigation has begun, so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
Eight British F35 jets are on the carrier, along with 10 American F35s. They are the B variant of the Lockheed Martin jet, which can take off at a short distance and land on the carrier.
As well as being the first crash for the aircraft carrier, it is also the first time any of the UK’s fleet of 24 F35 jets have crashed.
While very rare, a small number of American F35 jets have come down including one in May 2020 during a routine exercise in Florida.
The F35 jets are the most prized part of the UK’s new carrier strike group. The British and American jets have flown to intercept Russian aircraft from HMS Queen Elizabeth in recent months.
Wednesday’s incident occurred at approximately 10am UK time in international waters. No other vessels or aircraft were involved.
A comprehensive military air investigation will be conducted urgently.