Royal Navy race Russia to recover crashed F-35 jet’s top-secret technology

The Royal Navy raced to recover a crashed £100 million warplane before Russian forces found its top-secret technology.

While flying over the Mediterranean, a British pilot fell out of the advanced F-35B Lightning aircraft which can fly at supersonic speeds without being seen.

As the pilot ejected and was later rescued, the plane is understood to have smashed into pieces on impact with the sea.

Getting to it before Russia was imperative for the Royal Navy who fear its highly sensitive radar and sensor features may fall into the hands of foreign armed forces.

The pilot was part of the UK’s HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier strike force, which was practising for war.

It is unknown whether an F-35B has crashed before in international waters but at the same time it is probable that China is aware of the secret technology through spying.

It is the RAF's most advanced plane capable of landing vertically and is the first that the UK has lost, the Mirror reports.

British Armed Forces were last night scrambling to recover pieces of the destroyed warplane in case it falls into enemy hands, such as the Russian navy.

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The wreckage of the plane was found on Wednesday afternoon and is being protected by an Anglo-US dive team until the aircraft is able to be removed by the Navy, reported the Daily Mail.

It is believed the pilot is recovering and back on the ship following the crash which happened at 10am on Wednesday.

He was rescued after an emergency operation was launched.

An MoD spokesperson said: “A British F35 pilot from HMS Queen Elizabeth ejected during routine flying operations in the Mediterranean this morning.

“The pilot has been safely returned to the ship and an investigation has begun, so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

There are approximately 20 F-35B jets on HMS Queen Elizabeth, a £3.5 billion aircraft carrier that is the UK’s biggest-ever warship.

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The carrier’s F-35Bs are equally divided on the ship between the UK’s Royal Air Force and the US Marine Corps.

HMS Queen Elizabeth has a sister carrier called HMS Prince of Wales which is undergoing sea trials.

Sources told the Daily Mirror he was rescued by “assets launching from HMS Queen Elizabeth” which means he was likely plucked from the sea by a Merlin helicopter.

It is believed he has had a medical checkup but is not in the ship’s hospital.

At the time of the crash, HMS Queen Elizabeth was in the Eastern Mediterranean, on the way back to the UK from the China Sea.

It is not known how far the plane was from its mother ship when it ran into trouble.

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