The US and China are in a race to find a sunken F-35C fighter jet after a landing error.
The two world superpowers, China and the US, are in a race to find a sunken F-35C fighter jet that crashed in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. This particular jet is currently one of the most advanced models in the world, because of that, experts are worried that the US will face a major setback if China manages to recover it before them. The 100 million dollar jet, as well as being extremely expensive, contains cutting edge classified technology and losing it could mean that China could potentially use this technology.
Although the incident was caused by a simple error in a routine operation, the presence of the jet in Chinese water is seen as a challenge to territorial claims. Therefore, the wreckage could cause even more trouble for the US. Fortunately, there were no fatalities, the pilot ejected before crashing and there were only 7 injured sailors.
The US army stresses the importance of recovering the Jet before China: “We’re certainly mindful of the value of an F-35 in every respect of what value means,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told a briefing on Thursday. As well as recognizing its technological value, it is an important asset for the army. Abi Austen, a defence consultant, was quoted by the BBC as saying: “The F-35 is basically like a flying computer. It’s designed to link up other assets – what the air force calls ‘linking sensors to shooters’.” It was also noted that as time passes the probability of finding the jet decreases, as there is a higher risk that the black box battery could die.
The salvaging of the jet is indisputably an asset to both China and the US, especially because of the struggle for power between the two.