F-35 Stealth Fighter Jet Crashes in SC

Military plane crashes in Beaufort County SC pilot ejects safely

Military plane crashes in Beaufort County SC pilot ejects safely

"The cause of the crash is under investigation", it added.

The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office said the pilot safely ejected and was being evaluated for injuries.

An F-35B fighter jet crashed near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in SC late Friday morning, military officials said, just days after the cutting-edge aircraft flew its first combat mission in Afghanistan.

The crash appears to be the first of its kind for the troubled F-35 program, marking an unfortunate moment for the most expensive plane in history.

Beaufort is a city on Port Royal Island which is located more than 200 miles away from the scene of the second crash in the north side of SC.

The crash comes just one day after the United States military first used the F-35, which has been beset with delays and cost overruns, in combat. On Thursday, a Marine F-35B successfully attacked a Taliban target in support of a ground clearance operation in Afghanistan, according to the Marine Corps.

Once servicing and maintenance costs for the F-35 are factored in over the aircraft's lifespan through 2070, overall programme costs are expected to rise to US$1.5 trillion.

The F-35B is the only version of the aircraft that is able to land vertically like a helicopter. The program has been criticized by some in Congress for testing problems, delays and cost overruns.

So far, the US military has taken delivery of 245 F-35s, a lot of them to the US Air Force. The F-35B, one of three F-35 models, saw its price tag lowered by 5.7 percent to $115.5 million per plane, Lockheed and Pentagon officials said in a statement.

Israel in May was the first country to use the F-35 stealth fighter in combat.

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