British F-35B fighter jet crashed into the sea

  ■Chang Kun

  According to the British Ministry of Defense, an F-35B "Lightning" II short-range/vertical take-off and landing stealth fighter (hereinafter referred to as F -35B fighter) crashed into the Mediterranean during the mission, the pilot ejected out of the cabin and was rescued.

At present, the Royal Navy is organizing manpower to salvage the crashing aircraft.

  Air Force fighter on the aircraft carrier

  On May 22 this year, when the "Queen Elizabeth" aircraft carrier and escort warships formed an aircraft carrier strike group to perform the first overseas deployment mission, the British Ministry of Defense proudly declared that this trip to Asia was the UK's largest maritime and air armed overseas in recent years. Dispatch action.

  In fact, the "Queen Elizabeth" aircraft carrier carrying out this voyage mission does not even have a carrier-based fighter jet attached to the Royal Navy.

At that time, the F-35B fighter jets purchased by the Royal Navy had not yet formed combat effectiveness.

In order to make up for the vacancy in carrier airpower, the Royal Navy invited F-35B fighters from the Royal Air Force and the U.S. Marine Corps to board the ship, including 8 F-35B fighters from the Royal Air Force and 10 F-35B fighters from the U.S. Marine Corps. 35B fighter.

This avoids the embarrassment that no carrier aircraft is available on the "Queen Elizabeth" aircraft carrier.

  Unlike other national air forces, the Royal Air Force has a tradition of equipping short-range/vertical take-off and landing fighters that can be carried by aircraft carriers. The equipment history even predates the Royal Navy.

In the early days of the Cold War, in order to meet the needs of decentralized deployment and rapid take-off and landing operations, the Royal Air Force launched the "Harrier" attack aircraft, the world's first short-range/vertical take-off and landing fighter.

Later, the Royal Navy launched the "Sea Harrier" fighter jet based on the "Harrier" attack aircraft.

After the Battle of Falkland Islands broke out, the British Royal Navy dispatched the "Invincible" and "Sports God" two light aircraft carriers.

Because the "Sea Harrier" fighters on the aircraft carrier are mainly used for air defense interception and anti-ship operations, and the effect of land strikes is not good, they also carry the "Harrier" attack aircraft.

This is the first time a short-range/vertical take-off and landing fighter of the Royal Air Force has been deployed on an aircraft carrier.

Although the "Harrier" type attack aircraft showed a strong ability to strike on land in combat, after the British landing on the island, these air force fighters were quickly transferred to land airports to fight in order to avoid the safety brought about by the take-off and landing of the ship. Hidden dangers.

  After the end of the Cold War, the British Ministry of Defense established a joint rapid deployment force of the three services to conduct mixed deployment of land, sea and air forces.

In January 1998, the "Invincible" aircraft carrier carried 7 "Harrier" attack aircraft and 12 "Sea Harrier" fighter jets to set sail to cooperate with the US military in air strikes against Iraq.

Before boarding the ship, the "Harrier" attack aircraft was modified, and the pilots were also equipped with marine life-saving devices.

  The crashed "fire" ejection seat

  As a first-tier partner country of the F-35 fighter project, the United Kingdom will purchase 138 F-35B fighters for the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy to replace the "Harrier" attack aircraft and "Sea Harrier" fighters.

In theory, these F-35B fighters can be deployed in a mixed manner.

  The F-35B is the world's first large-scale short-range/vertical take-off and landing stealth fighter.

The aircraft can carry a variety of weapons to perform ground, sea attacks and air combat missions.

The design difficulty of this short-range/vertical take-off and landing fighter is the control system, which needs to ensure that the engine nozzles can be flexibly switched between vertical take-off and landing and leveling.

The F-35B fighter jet control system has a high degree of automation. It can quickly adjust the engine thrust according to flight instructions and adjust the angle of the vector nozzle to achieve vertical take-off and landing or high-speed level flight.

However, in actual use, this advanced fighter jet has been in constant trouble, and there have been three crashes.

  After the news of the crash, the ejection seat manufacturer of the F-35B fighter was accidentally "fired" by the British Martin Baker Company.

The company posted a slogan on its website: "So far, we have saved the lives of 7,662 pilots worldwide."

  Martin Baker is the world's first company engaged in the design and production of ejection seats.

Soon after the Second World War, the company installed the ejection seat it designed and produced on the "Meteor" jet fighter for ejection tests, opening the "life-saving legend" of the ejection seat.

The F-35 series fighters are equipped with MK16-US16E ejection seats produced by Martin Baker.

So far, this ejection seat has successfully ejected the pilot out of the cabin in many F-35 series fighter crashes.

  "Salvage" the wreckage of the fighter plane

  After the crash, British Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace said that the crash may be caused by technical failure or human error. The preliminary investigation report will be released in a few weeks.

  At present, the British Ministry of Defence is organizing manpower to "salp" the F-35B fighter jet that crashed into the sea.

According to British media reports, because the crash site is located in the eastern Mediterranean, there is often the Russian Black Sea Fleet here.

To this end, the Royal Navy has blocked the sea area where the incident occurred.

On the afternoon of the crash, after the F-35B fighter was locked in position, the Royal Navy sent divers to protect the wreckage of the fighter that sank into the seabed and dispatched fighters to patrol the nearby airspace.

  Regarding the British Royal Navy’s approach to “just like a big enemy” after the crash, some commentators said that the so-called “snatching” is more like a drama self-directed and performed by the British military to cover up the embarrassment of the F-35B fighter jet after falling into the sea. .