U.K. sends salvage ship to recover F-35 B from Mediterranean seabed

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U.K. sends salvage ship to recover F-35 B from Mediterranean seabed

The U.S. Navy sent a salvage ship and crew to recover the U.K. F-35 B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter that crashed in the Mediterranean last week. This comes amid worries that Russia might get its hands on the wreck of the jet to glean insights into its cutting-edge technology.

A U.K. government spokesman confirmed that the U.S. salvage team is on the mission, but the Naval Sea Systems Command has not issued any statements in this regard, reported USNI.

The U.K. Ministry of Defence approached the U.S. for help since it has salvaged equipment in Spain, closest to the scene of the incident, according to media reports.

The U.K. hopes that the Towed Pinger Locator 25 TPL-25 owned by the U.S. can help trace the emergency beacon of the jet's emergency beacon, according to unnamed sources. The jet can be brought to the surface using a combination of remote-controlled undersea vehicles and inflatable bags.

After recovery, the F-35 B will likely be loaded onboard a salvage vessel and brought to the shore, perhaps to Cyprus, which houses a major RAF airbase.

Italy is assisting with the mission, according to reports. Two days ago, an Italian F 35 jet made a vertical landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth. This is the first time that three nations have flown jets from the same aircraft carrier.

The U.K. U.S. and Nato had offered reassurances that Russia will not get hold of the downed F-35 from the seabed. We'll get it first, I promise you, Brigadier General Simon Doran, a top-ranking U.S. officer onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, was quoted by the AFP.

NATO's Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Tim Radford, told journalists on board the vessel in the Mediterranean that they're not concerned about recovering it. We are not worried because we are working through the issue at the moment. There was a concern when the plane went down. The pilot is the most important thing. Britain had said the Russians had been playing close attention to HMS Queen Elizabeth, which carried the jet before it went down.

A F - 35 B plane took off from the aircraft carrier and crashed into the sea during a routine operation in the Mediterranean last Wednesday. The pilots ejected safely.

The F-35 Bs are said to be the most advanced and expensive jets. They cost almost 100 m and can land vertically and combine radar-evading stealth technology with supersonic speeds.