Sun, 14 Aug 2022

SOUTH CHINA SEA: The U.S. Navy has retrieved an F-35C stealth fighter jet that sank in the South China Sea after an aborted landing on the USS Carl Vinson in January.

A major operation was launched to recover the jet, which costs $100m (£74m) and is the newest and most advanced in the U.S. air force.

In recent years, the region has been a source of rising U.S.-China tensions

The F-35C Lightning II was raised this week from a depth of 12,400 feet using a remotely operated vehicle.

Officials said a hook was lowered from a diving support ship's crane to the sea floor, which was attached to the rigging. The jet was then lifted to the surface and hoisted aboard the vessel.

In a statement, the U.S. Navy said, "The recovery effort shows the U.S. Navy's commitment to its assets, and a free and open Indo-Pacific."

During a military exercise, seven sailors were injured when the F-35C struck the deck of aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson while crash landing.

According to the Navy, the single-engine stealth fighter impacted the flight deck of the 100,00-tonne aircraft carrier and then fell into the sea. The pilot ejected and was rescued.

For many years, the South China Sea, home to vital shipping lanes, has been a geopolitical flashpoint, with several countries claiming ownership of its small islands and reefs.

China has recently asserted its claim to the sea, refusing to recognise a 2016 international tribunal ruling saying there was no evidence that it had exclusive control over the waters.

More Beijing News

Access More

Sign up for Beijing News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!