Seven people were injured when an F-35C, the newest fighter in the US Navy fleet which costs around £100million, crashed off the USS Carl Vinson into the South China Sea
A state of the art US stealth fighter was destroyed after crashing on a Navy aircraft carrier last month.
The F-35C, the newest fighter in the Navy fleet, burst into flames after smashing down into the USS Carl Vinson on January 24.
At the time, the 333m ship was in the South China Sea – an area that China controversially claims entirely as its own.
In leaked footage of the crash, the jet can be seen skidding across the runway of an aircraft carrier.
It bucks up onto one wheel as if it has struck something on the ship’s surface, before racing off the side and into the sea.
As a huge plume of water rises up over the top of the carrier, crew members can be seen rushing towards the point where it plummeted off.
At the end of the clip they appear impeded by safety devices that begin blasting liquid onto the runway.
Peter Layton, a former Royal Australian Air Force officer now at the Griffith Asia Institute, analyzed the footage in an attempt to work out why the plane crashed.
“As the aircraft is coming down the flaps are working overtime backwards and forwards,” he told CNN.
“It looks like the pilot has lost control and is suffering oscillations.”
The US Navy has confirmed the authenticity of the video, but it has not commented on what caused the crash.
“We are aware that there has been an unauthorized release of video footage from flight deck cameras onboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) of the F-35C Lightning II crash that occurred Jan. 24, in the South China Sea,” Commander Zach Harrell , spokesperson for the Naval Air Forces, said.
“There is an ongoing investigation into both the crash and the unauthorized release of the shipboard video footage.”
In the footage crew can be heard yelling “wave off, wave off” as the stealth jet approach, a term used when a landing needs to be aborted.
It appears that the command came too late for the pilot, who was unable to control the craft.
“That’s really, really scary,” said Layton.
Seven people were injured in the accident including the pilot, who ejected from the plane, and six others aboard the carrier.
It is not currently known whether the US Navy has removed the jet from the ocean.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said it was aware that a US Navy stealth fighter had crashed in the South China Sea, but poured cold water on the idea that it would attempt to salvage it for technology.
It said the country “had no interests in their plane.”
According to Arms Control Center, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 has had some issues since it came onto the market last decade.
Tests in July and August of 2015 demonstrated a 23% probability of death and a 100% probability of neck injury upon ejection for pilots weighing between 136 and 165 pounds (61kg to 74kg) and a 98% probability of death for pilots under 136 pounds.
It costs between £80million and £100million per unit.