F-35C USS Carl Vinson

Sailors taxi an F-35C Lightning II, assigned to the 'Argonauts' of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson on January 22
Seven U.S. military personnel were hurt on Monday when an F-35C warplane had a 'landing mishap' on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the South China Sea and the pilot ejected, the U.S Navy said.

A Navy statement said the incident happened during 'routine flight operations' in the South China Sea.

The status of the $94 million fighter jet was unclear.

'The pilot safely ejected from the aircraft and was recovered via U.S. military helicopter,' it said.

'The pilot is in stable condition. There were seven total sailors injured.'

The statement said three of personnel required evacuation to a medical facility in Manila and four were treated by on-board the carrier and released.

Taiwan china south sea

The aircraft carriers were in the Philippine Sea, which lays east (to the right) of Taiwan and west of the US territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands
It said all the personnel evacuated were assessed as being in stable condition.

The Navy said the cause of the 'inflight mishap' on the nuclear-powered carrier was under investigation.

'The status of the aircraft is currently under investigation as are the factors involved in the mishap,' Brenda Way, a spokesperson for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, told The War Zone.

Scott Miller

Captain P. Scott Miller, commander of the USS Carl Vinson
The F-35 jet is made by Lockheed Martin, and the USS Carl Vinson in August deployed from its San Diego base for the first time with F-35C Lightning II fighter jets and Navy CMV-22B Osprey aboard.

The F-35C is the carrier version of the Joint Strike Fighter being built in three versions for the Air Force, Marines and Navy.

The Navy version can fly 1.6 times the speed of sound and has a combat radius of 600 nautical miles.

'Vinson is the first carrier to accommodate a mix of 4th- and 5th- generation strike fighters, providing unprecedented lethality and survivability and ensuring the Navy team can operate and win in contested battlespace now and well into the future,' said Capt. Tommy Locke, commander of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, in August.

The Pentagon said two U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Groups, led by the Carl Vinson and USS Abraham Lincoln, began operations in the South China Sea on Sunday.

The carriers entered the disputed sea for training as Taiwan reported a new Chinese air force incursion at the top of the waterway.

The Carl Vinson is supported by more than 5,000 crew members and carries 65 fixed and rotary-wing aircraft.

This is only the second major mishap involving an F-35 of any kind operating from an aircraft carrier.

Comment: Perhaps, but it's not the first 'mishap' involving F-35's, the culmination of which led even the US congress to deem the $1.7 TRILLION program a "failure".

A British F-35B Joint Strike Fighter crashed into the Mediterranean Sea in November during a failed takeoff attempt from the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The pilot successfully ejected in that incident and the plane was recovered.
US beefs up military presence near Taiwan after Chinese buzzes air space

Taiwan said 13 Chinese planes flew into the country's air space and it reported 39 Chinese air force planes in the space Sunday.

The South China Sea and Taiwan are sources of tension between the United States and China. The US Navy began operations with an increased presence in the South China Sea on Saturday.

Comment: The US Navy has not just begun to increase its presence in the South China Sea, it has repeatedly sailed warships through the disputed waters and has generally been working to 'contain' China for years now.

  • Carl Vinson strike group:
  • Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson
  • Carrier Air Wing 2
  • Cruiser USS Lake Champlain
  • Destroyer USS Stockdale
  • Destroyer USS Chafee
  • Replenishment ship USNS Yukon
  • Dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Washington Chambers
  • Abraham Lincoln strike group:
  • Aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln
  • Carrier Air Wing 9
  • Cruiser USS Mobile Bay
  • Destroyer USS Fitzgerald
  • Destroyer USS Gridley
  • Destroyer USS Sampson (now heading to Tonga to assist in relief efforts following the underwater volcano eruption)
  • Destroyer USS Spruance
  • Two US amphibious assault ships