F-35 stealth fighter crashes for the first time

An F-35B Lightning II launches from the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS Essex on September 22, 2018. (AFP/US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jenna Dobson)
Updated 29 September 2018

F-35 stealth fighter crashes for the first time

  • Unit costs vary, but the price tag of F-35s is around $100 million each
  • The crash comes just one day after the US military first used the F-35, which has been beset with delays and cost overruns, in combat

WASHINGTON: A US F-35 stealth fighter plane was completely destroyed in a crash during training on Friday, officials said. The pilot safely ejected.
The crash is the first of its kind for the troubled F-35 program, marking an unfortunate moment for the most expensive plane in history.
The Marine Corps said in a statement that a Marine Corps F-35 had crashed around 11:45 am (1615 GMT) outside Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina.
“It’s a total loss,” one official said.
Images on social media show a plume of black smoke rising above what users said was a crash site.
The crashed plane was an F-35 “B” variant, used by the Marine Corps and capable of taking off from a short runway and landing vertically. The Air Force and Navy have their own models.
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office said the pilot safely ejected and was being evaluated for injuries.
Unit costs vary, but the price tag of F-35s is around $100 million each. Future production lots of F-35s are projected to drop slightly in price.
The crash comes just one day after the US military first used the F-35, which has been beset with delays and cost overruns, in combat. Multiple Marine Corps F-35s struck Taliban targets in Afghanistan.
Launched in the early 1990s, the F-35 program is considered the most expensive weapons system in US history, with an estimated cost of some $400 billion and a goal to produce 2,500 aircraft in the coming years.
Once servicing and maintenance costs for the F-35 are factored in over the aircraft’s lifespan through 2070, overall program costs are expected to rise to $1.5 trillion.
Proponents tout the F-35’s radar-dodging stealth technology, supersonic speeds, close air support capabilities, airborne agility and a massive array of sensors giving pilots unparalleled access to information.
But the program has faced numerous delays, cost overruns and setbacks, including a mysterious engine fire in 2014 that led commanders to temporarily ground the planes.
So far, the US military has taken delivery of 245 F-35s, most of them to the Air Force.


Spain set for money laundering trial against uncle of Syria’s Assad

Updated 22 November 2019

Spain set for money laundering trial against uncle of Syria’s Assad

  • Rifaat Assad turned against the government in 1984 after a power struggle over who would succeed his older brother, Hafez
  • Rifaat Assad is also facing trial in France for allegedly acquiring millions of euros worth of French property assets

MADRID: Spain is heading toward a money laundering trial against an uncle of Syrian president Bashar Assad, the High Court said on Friday, after an investigating judge finished his probe.
The prosecuting office has ten days to comment on the judge’s recommendation that the case goes ahead, which is considered a formality, after which a trial start date will be set, the court said.
Two years ago, the High Court confiscated over €600 million ($663.24 million) of assets thought to be linked to Rifaat Assad.
He is a former military commander, widely held responsible for crushing an uprising in 1982 against then-president Hafez Assad, Bashar’s father. Many thousands were killed.
Rifaat Assad turned against the government in 1984 after a power struggle over who would succeed his older brother, Hafez. He now lives in exile between France and Britain.
He is also facing trial in France for allegedly acquiring millions of euros worth of French property assets.