An F-35B fighter jet operated by the U.S. Marine Corps crashed today, following a collision with a KC-130J tanker plane.
The pilot of the jet that crashed near Naval Air Facility El Centro, California, ejected safely.
“At approximately 1600 it was reported that an F-35B made contact with a KC-130J during an air-to-air refueling evolution, resulting in the crash of the F-35B. The pilot of the F-35B ejected successfully and is currently being treated,” 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, which is the is the major west coast aviation unit of the USMC said in a statement.
“The KC-130J is on deck in the vicinity of Thermal Airport. All crew members of the KC-130J have been reported safe. The official cause of the crash is currently under investigation. Updates will be provided as information becomes available,” the military added.
This year, the U.S. military has lost several warplanes in crashes. Two of the Air Force’s F-16s, an F-15C, an F-22 and an F-35A jet have hit the ground in 2020. In addition, a U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jet launched from the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier crashed into the Philippine Sea on June 18.