LONDON – The accident at sea of a British F-35B fighter jet on November 17 was videotaped and subsequently leaked on Twitter.
The video shows the plane attempting to take off from the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in the eastern Mediterranean.
The short take-off and vertical landing version of the F-35 does not generate enough lift or thrust and the pilot ejects when the plane lands on the front of the warship.
The expulsion and a floating parachute can be seen in the video posted by the @ sebh1981 Twitter account.
The pilot of Royal Air Force 617 Squadron, known as Dambusters, was safely rescued by helicopter.
The Defense Ministry has yet to authenticate the images.
A spokesman for the Defense Ministry acknowledged the existence of the video, but did not comment further on the leak.
“We are aware of a video circulating online. It is too early to comment on the possible causes of this incident. Recovery efforts are ongoing and the Defense Accident Investigation Branch will report its preliminary findings in due course, ”he said.
Some media outlets reported that the 16-second video appeared to have been taken from one of the warship’s surveillance cameras.
Doug Barrie, a senior aviation analyst with the think tank at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, said the images could be consistent with rumors circulating last week that a rain cover had been left on the plane before takeoff.
“The video shows that the aircraft did not have enough acceleration and did not get the expected thrust. The pilot was not close to takeoff speed when he approached the ramp, “he told Defense News.
“It seems to fit the speculation about the rain cover that is supposedly causing the problem, but we don’t know yet,” Barrie said.
Efforts are underway to retrieve the jet from the sea.
The British F-35B force is jointly operated by Royal Navy and Royal Air Force pilots.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is on her maiden operational deployment and has led an aircraft carrier strike group that included a US Navy F-35B and a US Navy warship. trip to the Far East.
The ship is back in the UK.