The United States Navy is trying to retrieve its most advanced fighter jet from the depths of the South China Sea, an extremely complex operation that analysts say will be closely monitored by Beijing.
The $100 million warplane impacted the flight deck of the 100,000-ton aircraft carrier and then fell into the sea as its pilot ejected, Navy officials said. The pilot and six sailors aboard the Vinson were injured.
While damage to the Vinson was only superficial, and it and the carrier’s air wing have resumed normal operations, the Navy faces the daunting task of attempting to pull the F-35 off the ocean floor in some of the most contested waters on the planet.
I get it, carrier landings can go very badly.
You need to keep the flight deck clear so letting the pilot ditch and letting the plane slide off the end of the runway or pushing the wreckage over the side has been procedure in one way or another since WWII.
The Navy helped lead the development of zero-zero ejection seats precisely because they needed pilots to be able to ditch off a carrier flight deck just before the plane went into the water.
So here is my question, knowing that a flight deck ditch is a predictable outcome of a carrier prang, and carrier groups operate in and around the waters of enemy nations, why is there not a team that immediately goes into the water after the aircraft?
One crew immediately gets dispatched to rescue the pilot the other to recover the aircraft?
It seems like a better solution than racing the enemy to pick the plane up 3,700 feet off the sea floor.
Maybe I’m wrong and the navy already does that, but why should we even be in this situation.
It’s not like we don’t know where the place crashed and we have to look for it. It literally hit the flight deck and went over the end.
Why should it take that long to recover the aircraft?