The multipurpose aircraft, the F-35C Lightning II, packed with technologies, missed its landing in the China Sea and crashed into the sea. The USA managed to take the plane from a depth of 3800 meters so that it would not fall into the hands of the Chinese!
How did it fall into the sea?
In the South China Sea, on January 24, an F-35C Lightning II was returning from a mission and was due to land on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. The landing went badly and the plane crashed into a mast on the deck, took a 180-degree turn, the pilot ejected and the plane crashed into the water, then sank. Since then, it has been lying at a depth of about 3,800 m, that is at the same depth as the wreckage of the Titanic.
It was unthinkable for the United States to leave the flagship of American military aviation at the bottom of the ocean and, moreover, in international waters. The country feared that China could capture this stealth plane filled with the most carefully developed technologies in two decades for tens of billions of dollars.
Video of the F-35 crash and falling into the water
Fears of hijacking of aircraft’s top-secret technologies
It is constantly said that China has the ability to increase its military equipment by absorbing technologies from other countries. With such an approach, Beijing would be quick to clone the plane. Actually, the Chinese were heavily inspired by the American F-22 and they launched a stealth aircraft, the Chengdu J-20. The work had to be done very quickly, as it was feared that a very high-tech product like the F35 would fall into the hands of other states.
A Race against time
The US Navy did not intend to leave the F-35C at the bottom of the sea. It took five weeks to find the hidden plane and take it out. A team specializing in this type of task from the SupSalv organization carried out the work. After using the geographic coordinates of the accident, the technicians operated underwater drones that could withstand high pressure to survey the area.
Moved by various sea currents during landing, the submarine drones had to do a wide sweep to find it. Then on March 2, a remote-controlled vehicle called the Curv-21 was deployed and succeeded to take the F-35C out of the depths. These special devices are operated by the American company Phoenix.