Marine Corps F-35 crashes in South Carolina — the first crash for America's most expensive weapon of war

  • A US Marine Corps Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter crashed Friday in South Carolina less than 24 hours after it made its combat debut in Afghanistan.
  • This incident marks the first F-35 crash in the history of the F-35 program, although their have been a number of incidents, such as fires and equipment malfunctions.

A US Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter crashed in South Carolina on Friday, just outside Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, according to ABC News and other media outlets, citing military officials.

The pilot is presumed to have ejected, but the airman's status is unknown at this time. The military aircraft, recognized as America's most expensive weapon, went down just before noon in a Class A mishap just five miles from the air station, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office told The Herald, a local paper, reported. A Class A mishap is a serious incident involving more than $2 million in damages or the total destruction of the aircraft.

MCAS in South Carolina is reportedly home to five F/A-18 squadrons and one squadron of F-35Bs.

The incident comes just one day after a US Marine Corps F-35B achieved a major milestone in Afghanistan, where the aircraft made its combat debut Thursday against Taliban targets. While their have been accidents, fires, and incidents, such as when an F-35B burst into flames two years ago, this marks the first F-35 crash, the Marine Corps told Business Insider.

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F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike fighter jet
A Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike fighter jet touches down on the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp, marking the first time the aircraft has deployed aboard a U.S. Navy ship and with a Marine Expeditionary Unit in the Indo-Asian-Pacific region in East China Sea, March 5, 2018. Picture taken March 5, 2018. Michael Molina/U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
An F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter takes off on a training sortie at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida in this March 6, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force photo/Randy Gon/Handout ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Richard Rusnok flies a Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike fighter jet during Exercise Valiant Shield 18 at Iwo To, Japan, September 18, 2018. Picture taken on September 18, 2018. Seth Rosenberg/U.S. Marine Corps/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Two U.S. Marine F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters complete vertical landings aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) during operational testing May 18, 2015. Picture taken May 18, 2015. REUTERS/U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Handout THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
A sailor aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) signals to the pilot of a U.S. Marine F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter to land as it arrives for the first phase of operational testing, May 18, 2015. Picture taken May 18, 2015. REUTERS/U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Handout THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
An F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter takes off on a training sortie at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida in this March 6, 2012 file photo. Canada is poised to buy 65 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, sources familiar with the process told Reuters, marking a major renewal of Canada's fighter fleet and helping contain costs of the expensive defense program. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force photo/Randy Gon/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: MILITARY BUSINESS) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
BF-3, a short take-off and vertical landing F-35 Lightning II, releases an inert 1,000 lb. GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) separation weapon over water in an Atlantic test range in Patuxent River, Maryland August 8, 2012. A Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft has dropped its first bomb in a new test stage of the Pentagon's costliest weapons purchase, officials said August 9, 2012. REUTERS/Andy Wolfe/Lockheed Martin/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: MILITARY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
A F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighter from the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 prepares to land at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in this September 18, 2012 handout photo courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: MILITARY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
A F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter is seen at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland January 20, 2012. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Friday that he was endorsing the Marine Corps version of the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet because sufficient progress had been made on resolving technical issues. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)
A F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter is seen at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland January 20, 2012. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Friday that he was endorsing the Marine Corps version of the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet because sufficient progress had been made on resolving technical issues. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)
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