On Sunday evening, Joint Base Charleston took to X/Twitter to make an odd request to the public: keep an eye out for a missing fighter jet.
According to the base, an F-35B fighter jet has gone missing after a pilot was forced to eject from the aircraft. Prior to the ejection, the fighter jet was accompanied by another aircraft over North Charleston. The jet's transponder is currently unresponsive.
"We’re working with @MCASBeaufortSC to locate an F-35 that was involved in a mishap this afternoon. The pilot ejected safely," they wrote. "If you have any information that may help our recovery teams locate the F-35, please call the Base Defense Operations Center at 843-963-3600."
"Based on the jet’s last-known position and in coordination with the FAA, we are focusing our attention north of JB Charleston, around Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion," Joint Base Charleston added.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the jet was assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing which is stationed outside of North Carolina
The fighter jet, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, was one of the most expensive aircraft to develop after its budget ballooned to more than $400 billion. The jet comes in three variants which include the F-35A at $89 million to produce, the F-35B at $115 million to produce, and the F-35C at $107 million to produce, according to Air Force Technology.
The aircraft was a part of the 1996 Joint Strike Fighter and entered service in 2015. According to the WSJ, about a dozen of the aircraft have been destroyed in crashes or accidents in the eight years of being in service.
The military's blunder isn't helping the perception of them by the public with users on Twitter/X making fun of the whole affair.
"Only under the Biden Administration could the US Military lose an $80 million F-35 jet in the air," wrote conservative commentator Benny Johnson.
"How in the fuck do you lose an F-35..." wrote Gunther Eagleman.
"Bro they put out a missing persons alert for an F-35 jet," Cernovich joked.
As of this report, the Air Force or Joint Base Charleston has yet to release an update about the missing aircraft, and the public is encouraged to contact the base if they have any information.
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