US Military Can’t Find Missing F-35B, Asks For Public Help

Missing F-35B


Missing F-35B
File picture of a VMFAT-501 F-35B (Picture credit score: USMC)

U.S. navy asking for public’s assist discovering F-35B gone lacking after pilot ejected. However, how do you lose an F-35 after the pilot ejected?

As already reported here, a pilot ejected safely from an F-35B Lighting II jet belonging to Marine Fighter Assault Coaching Squadron 501 (VMFAT-501) with the 2nd Marine Plane Wing primarily based at MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) Beaufort, South Carolina, within the afternoon on Sept. 17, 2023.

The bizarre factor is that the plane has not been situated but.

In a publish on X, Joint Base Charleston mentioned that primarily based on the lacking aircraft’s location and trajectory, the seek for the F-35 Lightning II jet was centered on Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, north of North Charleston. “When you’ve got any info that might help the restoration groups, please name the JB Charleston Base Protection Operations Middle at 843-963-3600,” Joint Base Charleston requested the general public on social media.

Many have requested the legit query: how do you lose an F-35 after the pilot ejected?

On this case there are a few issues to contemplate.

To begin with, the transponder of the plane was not working, in keeping with Jeremy Huggins, a spokesman at Joint Base Charleston who talked to the Washington Post.

Usually talking, when the plane turns its transponder off, it solely passively bounces radio waves despatched by the radar turning into a “non-cooperating” goal in a main surveillance radar (PSR) situation: the heartbeat of radio vitality despatched out by the radar is mirrored by the floor of the goal aircraft again to the receiver offering the bearing of the plane from the bottom station and its distance (calculated because the time taken by the heartbeat to succeed in the goal floor and return).

Since solely a fraction of the interrogation pulse is mirrored again to the bottom radar, the reply sign has a diminished vary and is topic to sign attenuation. Therefore, it may be troublesome to detect. Now, contemplate that this plane is a stealth aircraft: if it was flying with out its radar reflectors (aka Luneburg lenses), the radars can’t assist discovering it if the tranponder was turned off.

Second, in keeping with the studies, the plane was an autopilot when the pilot ejected. That is fairly bizarre, as pilots, once they have time to arrange for the ejection, use the trim to level the nostril of the jet in direction of unpopulated areas of the bottom, and forestall the plane from flying uncontrolled for lengthy distances earlier than crashing.

Anyway, supplied the autopilot was actually engaged, the plane could have flown tens if not a whole bunch of miles earlier than hitting the bottom (as occurred to the Soviet MiG-23 that crossed central Europe earlier than hitting a farm in Belgium, killing an 18-year previous Belgian in 1989), therefore the world of floor and waters the place to search for the lacking aircraft is immensely bigger.

Anyway, the incident is considerably embarrassing and has already generated tons of memes on social media.

David Cenciotti is a journalist primarily based in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and browse navy aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and plenty of others, overlaying aviation, protection, struggle, trade, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with completely different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Pressure, a non-public pilot and a graduate in Laptop Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.


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