F-35 fighter jet suffers first crash in US

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Washington, Sep 29 (IANS) The US military has suffered the first crash in its hugely expensive F-35 fighter jet programme. An F-35B crashed in South Carolina, but there was no casualty.

The crash occurred near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort on Friday. The pilot ejected before the crash and is being evaluated for injury, according to a statement from the US Marine Corps, Xinhua news agency reported.

An investigation has been launched into the incident that marks the first crash of the fighter jet that costs more than $100 million.

It came a day after the first F-35 airstrike by the US against Taliban targets in Afghanistan, and hours after the Pentagon announced that it had awarded Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of F-35, with a new batch of F-35s, the BBC said.

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The F-35 stealth jet has three variants — F-35A, F-35B, and F-35C –designed for the US Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy respectively. The F-35B is the only model with short take-off and vertical landing abilities.

Global sales are projected at more that 3,000 aircraft, and the programme was likely to last for some 30 to 40 years.

–IANS

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