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

Ryan Pickrell
  • 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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