Leaked F-35C crash video highlights US military's excessive troop deployment, loose management
Published: Feb 07, 2022 09:08 PM


After the US Navy confirmed the authenticity of a video and photograph of the crash of an F-35C stealth fighter jet on a US aircraft carrier in the South China Sea at the end of last month, another video online that appears to give a clearer and more detailed look of the mishap shows the aircraft slamming on the carrier's flight deck and being wrapped in fire before skidding into the sea.

The accident seems terrible, as the aircraft would be beyond repair even if it did not fall into the ocean, and again exposed the exhaustion and lack of proper management of the US military under its excessive troop deployment in attempts to contain China, analysts said on Monday.

Emerging online around Sunday, the video seems to be taken by a smart phone, as it shows a computer monitor playing an alleged record footage of the closed-circuit camera system aboard the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier on January 24, the day the accident took place.

The first part of the video seems to be a recording of the aircraft carrier's Pilot's Landing Aid Television, which gives a look at aircraft as they land. It shows the F-35C approaching the carrier but significantly deviating from its landing course. Despite the landing signal officer's calls to add power and wave off, the F-35C slammed on the flight deck of the carrier, breaking its landing gear, as the aircraft began to skid on the deck with its belly while making a 180-degree turn as it moved forward.

Taken from probably the carrier's flight control island, the second part of the video shows that the impact was a very heavy one, and the F-35C was immediately engulfed by a fireball. The aircraft soon slid into the sea from the left side flight deck, sparing many more aircraft parked on the right side.

A previous statement by the US Navy said the pilot safely ejected, and a total of seven sailors were injured.

The authenticity of the latest leaked video has not yet been confirmed by the US Navy, but it seems consistent with all previous confirmed information including official statements and images.

The situation depicted by the video, including the wrong landing position, the breaking of the landing gear and the crashing on the flight deck was accurately pictured by analysts reached by the Global Times previously.

After watching the new video, analysts said that the accident was one of the worst-case scenarios.

"First, the aircraft slammed on the flight deck. Second, it caught fire, possibly because its fuel tank took a hit and was ignited by sparks caused by the friction," an expert told the Global Times on Monday, requesting anonymity.

Even if the F-35C did not fall into the ocean, it would be hard to repair when it had experienced such a terrible accident, said the expert, noting that the video also suggested the cause of the accident is more likely human error, as the pilot's approach on the carrier was wrong.

But the US will still do whatever it can to try to recover its most advanced carrier-based fighter, because it not only contains the latest technologies, but possibly also highly confidential intelligence like communications channels, analysts said.

This again reflected the US military's excessive troop deployment near China has taken its toll, as its personnel are making avoidable mistakes probably due to exhaustion, experts said, noting that the repeated leaks of videos and images also exposed the loose management of the US military.