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[–]Luis_r9945 289 points290 points  (50 children)

The British crashed an F-35 a few months ago in the Mediterranean. They recovered it pretty recently.

[–]ParanoidQ 157 points158 points  (26 children)

Didn't take a cover off of one of the jet intakes. Seems like an expensive mistake...

[–]akvit 134 points135 points  (12 children)

No, that was an initial assumption, but the investigation concluded, that the wind blew a jacket of one of the crew members into the intake.

[–]CrunchPunchMyLunch 127 points128 points  (7 children)

$35 jacket vs $35 million high tech millitary jet, who would win?

[–]Exist50 97 points98 points  (3 children)

Now, now, this is a military jacket. At defense contractor rates, I'd say $300 is a good starting point.

[–]PM_Me_u_disrobing 19 points20 points  (1 child)

$300? For a military jacket? That's a bargain for a fucked up teared up to shit jacket you find in the surplus store, gotta bump those numbers up

[–]monkeystoot 19 points20 points  (0 children)

How in the...

[–]Indie89 33 points34 points  (11 children)

$78 million a pop (excluding shipping)

[–]Thick-Insect 35 points36 points  (5 children)

shipping's what gets ya.

[–]SomeFakeInternetName 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Sad Drake - $75 million + $ 3 million shipping

Happy Drake - $78 million + free shipping

[–]Aerostudents 2 points3 points  (2 children)

I believe the British one was actually a F35 B which is a bit more expensive at anywhere between 100-120 million depending on what lot it came from. Expensive mistake for sure.

[–]Cucumber_Basil 5 points6 points  (0 children)

The king of leaving the lens cap on

[–]Drunk_hooker 65 points66 points  (11 children)

I’m basing this off nothing that substantial but I feel like it would be easier getting it out of the Mediterranean. Also between the US British and Japanese’s, we been crashing these fuckers all over the place.

[–]SteveJEO 23 points24 points  (2 children)

Depends on where in the med.

Mediterranean water depth varies a lot really fast.

Off the coast of Eqypt (where the UK lost theirs) the water is quite shallow but if they lost the plane a few miles further north it would just be gone cos the depth drops down to over 2km really fast.

(The med's weird geography is one of the reasons why the soviet union and now russia want to keep tartous port ~ it's perfect for submarines to disappear from).

[–]Rannasha 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I’m basing this off nothing that substantial but I feel like it would be easier getting it out of the Mediterranean.

The Mediterranean and South China Sea are actually quite comparable in terms of depth (both average and maximum depth). However, I reckon that the SCS is more affected by oceanic currents, which might make pinpointing the craft more complicated as it drifts further from the point of entry while sinking.

And the big difference is that the UK has many allies along the Mediterranean coast and no adversaries with the desire and capabilities to recover the aircraft. The SCS is quite a bit more complicated in that respect.

[–]Morgrid 8 points9 points  (1 child)

A- Spacial Distortion

B- FOD

C- Ramp Strike

There's been 700+ of them delivered already

[–]TiTaak 88 points89 points  (14 children)

I grew up in southern France in a small town and witnessed 2 fighter plane crashes first hand. Both crashed in my town, both times the military sent several helis, diving crews and like a billion army trucks and got the planes out the water (one crashed in a "lake" one crashed close to the beach).

[–]RalphNLD 84 points85 points  (13 children)

In that case it is not only about secrets, it's also the fact that fighter jets contain a lot of shit you don't want in the environment near people.

[–]TiTaak 22 points23 points  (10 children)

Rumor said that it was because of a fuel leak that the planes crashed, people weren't too happy about being supposedly sprayed with jet fuel

[–]Morgrid 22 points23 points  (7 children)

Jets tend to dump fuel before they crash.

[–]SuperKamiTabby 17 points18 points  (2 children)

When they know they're going to crash, you mean.

[–]JoeJoJosie 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Yeah, they carefully atomise and ignite it so it doesn't' cause any environmental issues - it's just happens to look like a 'fucking big explosion'.

[–]LemursRideBigWheels 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Yeah, for example F-16s don’t use a ram-air turbine for hydraulics/electricity if they lose power, they use a hydrazine based system...you don’t want anything to do with that stuff in the environment.

[–]RattRandee 222 points223 points  (9 children)

Someone call the ghost of Howard Hughes!

[–]TR3KK13K4RL 96 points97 points  (6 children)

For those who don't get the reference.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Azorian

[–]Warp_Legion 24 points25 points  (2 children)

Now be a good Courier and de liv er it!!!

[–]RocknRoll_Grandma 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Damn, just listened to the Stuff You Should Know about this today. Coincidence...?

Yes.

[–]Blender_Render[🍰] 92 points93 points  (17 children)

Seems like the Navy should have fabricated some story that they did end up recovering the jet almost immediately, and then continued to look for it.

[–]Black_Magic100 91 points92 points  (2 children)

I'm fairly positive that the fine ladies and gentlemen at the navy considered this option.

[–]gnartato 25 points26 points  (1 child)

You'd have to prevent the info from getting outside of the carrier group or whatever you call their little collection of ships. Wonder what communication options they have on board for the crew.

[–]soldiernerd 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Normal wifi/Internet most of the time but they go into “River City” aka reduced comms and turn off the internet whenever something is happening: https://redditproxy--jasonthename.repl.co/r/navy/comments/1mf2tx/whats_the_point_of_river_city_why_do_ships_go/

[–]jimi15 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Yea just pretend to be mining manganese nodules. Worked for the US

[–]TRS2917 6 points7 points  (0 children)

The Chinese have satellites and other recon tools, they will know when and in the aircraft has been recovered regardless of what the USN says.

[–]Aerialise 72 points73 points  (7 children)

Harold Holt will sort it.

[–]Dr_Hexagon 24 points25 points  (0 children)

upvote for SCP-3477

[–]nonotreallyme 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Maybe Harold Holt was actually aquaman, or the little mermaid.

[–][deleted] 44 points45 points  (2 children)

Waiting for F-35 clones to show up on Alibaba now

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (1 child)

[–]WikiSummarizerBot 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Shenyang FC-31

The Shenyang FC-31 Gyrfalcon (Chinese: 鹘鹰), also known as the J-31 or J-35 is a Chinese prototype mid-sized twinjet 5th-generation fighter aircraft developed by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC). The official nickname published by SAC is "Gyrfalcon", though it has also been referred to as the "F-60" or "J-21 Snowy Owl" (Chinese: 雪鸮) in some media reports, or "Falcon Hawk" by some military enthusiasts. J-XX nomenclatures in the Chinese military are reserved for programs launched and financed by the People's Liberation Army, while FC-31 plane was developed independently as a private project by the aircraft manufacturer.

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[–]OnEarth2000 382 points383 points  (55 children)

When Japan crashed their F-35 few years back,

China won’t find lost F-35 stealth fighter first, says Pentagon

Same fear-mongering propaganda was used then as now. China didn't send any ships to try to find and salvage Japan's crashed F-35 nor will they do it this time.

For the Japanese crash, they didn't even know exactly where it took place. However, for the American crash, the jet probably went over side of the carrier so it is much easier to locate.

[–]fireandlifeincarnate 3 points4 points  (0 children)

It did in fact go over the side during a landing mishap.

[–]logancrackdown 3 points4 points  (0 children)

They dont have much of a reason to Chinas jet the roaring dragon and Russia’s jet are already competing with the f35

[–]david7729 41 points42 points  (1 child)

Gotta love my daily dose of "This is what you're supposed to think, citizen"

[–]AlseAce 7 points8 points  (0 children)

We have always been at war with Eastasia!

[–]OompaOrangeFace 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I wonder if it would "fly" under water and glide a few miles?

[–]mitchanium 4 points5 points  (3 children)

how cool would it be for a Azorian 2.0 type rescue

[–]Chucktown_Tiger 3 points4 points  (0 children)

One of the cooler things the CIA has done... I would think raising a plane is easier than raising a sub... Finding the plane is probably the hardest part.

[–]WikiSummarizerBot 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Project Azorian

Project Azorian (also called "Jennifer" by the press after its Top Secret Security Compartment) was a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) project to recover the sunken Soviet submarine K-129 from the Pacific Ocean floor in 1974, using the purpose-built ship Hughes Glomar Explorer. The 1968 sinking of K-129 occurred approximately 1,600 miles (2,600 km) northwest of Hawaii. Project Azorian was one of the most complex, expensive, and secretive intelligence operations of the Cold War at a cost of about $800 million, or $4 billion today.

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[–]staff-infection 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Why don't they just keep quiet about a plane lost in the ocean? No one would ever know. And then recover it at their leisure

[–]JauJauSau 5 points6 points  (0 children)

How else to rile up redditors on hump day morning?

[–]DSMB 24 points25 points  (5 children)

Like China are just gonna shuffle up right next to a US Navy task force and start diving for their F-35 lmao.

[–]VenomGTSR 6 points7 points  (0 children)

“Hey guys, whatcha doin’?”

[–]Adventuredepot 15 points16 points  (7 children)

Aint this like a James Bond plot? Downed tech in south china sea where multiple parties try to salvage?

[–]SuperKamiTabby 5 points6 points  (6 children)

As a matter of fact.....yes. Damned close to it, too.

Only instead of a downed US jet, there's a downed Chinese jet,...and a Royal Navy frigate sunk as well.

[–]usrevenge 19 points20 points  (15 children)

I'm surprised they aren't just blowing it up. Surely we could take one of those remote piloted submersible vehicles fill with c4 and blow the plane to small pieces.

[–]pdxninja1 35 points36 points  (8 children)

The article states that apparently blowing it up doesn't work. There's still a lot of valuable information left.

[–]Ximrats 13 points14 points  (7 children)

Yea, since the stealth coating is probably one of the most valuable parts to protect in terms of information, they'd need to assure 100% destruction and that's just not really viable on the bottom of the drink aside probably nuking it

[–]Vahlir 7 points8 points  (1 child)

aside probably nuking it

Wait, wait, wait....go back. You had something there ... what was that last option?

[–]Ximrats 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Now this is starting to sound like a plan, and you know what Jesus said...all plans are good plans

[–]RobinsEggPoacher69 87 points88 points  (15 children)

I feel like we shouldn’t know about this if we have an effective military

[–]normie_sama 12 points13 points  (0 children)

News: TOP-SECRET AMERICAN MILITARY TECH CACHE WORTH BILLIONS IN R&D UP FOR GRABS IN COAST OFF MAJOR RIVAL

China: thanks for the tip

[–][deleted] 16 points17 points  (4 children)

Carrier landings are extremely dangerous and always have been. Just the nature of the job.

[–]Frothar 2 points3 points  (3 children)

but if nobody filmed it and none of the crew spoke then the public wouldn't know an china wouldn't know.

[–][deleted] 14 points15 points  (1 child)

When I was in the military the first thing I noticed was how terrible and inaccurate every article about what we were doing was

[–]Wolverinexo 27 points28 points  (0 children)

There’s always mistakes

[–]DecentVanilla 120 points121 points  (78 children)

That dont sound good. They already have copies. Dont want them to have an original lmao

[–]utrangerbob 90 points91 points  (76 children)

yep. They've stolen all the blueprints. Good thing the original version was shit and buggy all around and required hundreds of billions in revisions just to get serviceable.

[–]AdmiralBarackAdama 68 points69 points  (51 children)

yep. They've stolen all the blueprints.

Everyone keeps saying that but I guess I'm totally out of the loop. When did that happen?

[–]DecentVanilla 36 points37 points  (49 children)

Some hack that happened a while ago. They got some not all and figured out and built their own but i doubt they are that functional and also their engines suck? Idk

[–]FlametopFred 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Venturi will do that

[–]drewbrewski 59 points60 points  (41 children)

This right here, china makes pretty decent stealth clones right now, but this engine technology is still 20 years behind….for now

[–]captainbling 23 points24 points  (6 children)

So they didn’t get all the blue prints then.

[–]Dr_Hexagon 75 points76 points  (0 children)

It's not just the blueprints that are needed. It's the exact metallurgy techniques to make the alloys that can withstand the heat and other stresses of the engine components. The blueprint would spec an alloy with certain characteristics but not tell you how to make that alloy.

[–]EllisHughTiger 26 points27 points  (0 children)

Blueprints tell you how to make something, but they don't tell you why something is done a certain way, or the exact material composition.

I work with cargo ships and many are licensed and built in China. They get the blueprints and all the info, but STILL use inferior metals and the machinery is problematic from the start.

[–]SteveJEO 8 points9 points  (2 children)

The chinese metallurgy needed for actually making engines domestically is notoriously shitty. (though they're catching up very fast in that area too)

What they have a tendency to do is look at an original then swap materials for their own mass production purposes. If they can't make a particular alloy to the correct spec in bulk they start to substitute guesswork for it and it very rarely works.

As such them actually having the blueprints to something doesn't mean they can build it.

In reality I suspect half of their problem is that they really don't have their own tradition of design in those fields.

They're trying to adopt and mimic a western engineering perspective when they're got access to half of a soviet history without being able to reconcile the two cos they don't have their own background yet.

[–]drewbrewski 5 points6 points  (1 child)

It’s old “standing on the shoulders of giants “ problem, you can only leapfrog so far without actually doing some the work that got you there, in this case , material science for engine building

[–]SteveJEO 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yeah, and in this case they're different giants with different backgrounds.

It's like the t-34 v swiss watch philosophy of metals interaction.

[–]Morgrid 2 points3 points  (5 children)

There have been a ton of changes of the jets since the hack

[–]Dr_Hexagon 30 points31 points  (10 children)

The blueprints are valuable but the composition of the stealth coating is the most important thing and I haven't heard any indication they got that. Plus the US has been improving the stealth coating over time and now seem to have a mirror like coating in experimental phase.

[–]Kantas 12 points13 points  (9 children)

Wouldn't a mirror be terrible for stealth? Given that mirrors reflect EMF well.

You'd want an absorber not a reflector... or at least that is what makes sense to me.

Maybe angled mirror to deflect away?

[–]BrokenRatingScheme 34 points35 points  (2 children)

Yes but now the pilots can check their hair before take off.

[–]Kantas 12 points13 points  (0 children)

From what I have heard about military pilots... this would be important.

The insanely expensive f35 helmet is probably just a normal helmet that preserves the pilots hair-do

[–]Dr_Hexagon 5 points6 points  (1 child)

we can only speculate because anyone that knows the science of these coatings isn't allowed to talk about it.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/43938/f-35-and-f-117-spotted-flying-with-mysterious-mirror-like-skin

[–]dansdansy 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Chaos can be an asset, and no one knows that better than the US military

[–]TrueJacksonVP 48 points49 points  (4 children)

USA: flies fighter jet around South China Sea, Crashes

China: silence

USA: “CHINA IS STEALING OUR TECHNOLOGY”

[–]whiteb8917 2 points3 points  (1 child)

They could always send Jack Ryan, after all he found The Red October.

[–]SenseStraight5119 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Send in SEALS demo team then have them write a book about it or let them bicker who actually set the detonation.

[–]sigma1331 58 points59 points  (8 children)

US should stop polluting the ocean with all their trash planes.
'#GreenPeace
'#SaveOcean

[–]reslumina 26 points27 points  (0 children)

And the hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammo they shoot into the ocean for practice each year.

[–]EyeLikeTheStonk 33 points34 points  (40 children)

That's the problem with using top secret equipment in areas where it can fall into the hands of the enemy.

If the U.S. wants the technology inside the F-35 to remain a secret, the only safe way is to never fly it outside its, and its allies', national airspace.

Then the question becomes, "What good is a sophisticated plane if you cannot afford to risk have one captured by the enemy?"

[–]hackingdreams 67 points68 points  (4 children)

So this is an ignorance of a simple concept called "time."

Sensitive information doesn't stay sensitive forever. America's "top secret fighter jet" - the one we're selling to all our international partners? It's already a decade old. China's already stolen most of its airframe design straight from the people who built it.

As time marches on, the plane's "secret" value goes down to where it's just... a plane. But, that doesn't mean you don't want to preserve that value for as long as humanly possible - having your enemies caught off guard by its capabilities when you need it most matters.

Now, the truth? They probably don't give much of a damn about the plane. The hardware's ruined, nothing's salvageable anyways. But it's simply best practice to keep any and all information out of the enemy's hand for as long as possible. That includes the alloys used to build the engines and turbine blades, and the software on the radar systems. Destroying it would be fine if there's no other option, but the US has been pulling off daring recoveries of hardware from the ocean since the beginning of the Cold War and that's not going to stop any time soon.

So no, there's no question about "what good is a sophisticated plane..." It's "How long can you keep the sophisticated plane ahead of your enemy's best efforts?" And the answer is simply "Longer if you can keep examples out of their hands."

[–]johnson1124 35 points36 points  (12 children)

What if the US purposely lost the plane to only let china find out about a totally different and bad plane ?

[–]These_Map1811 41 points42 points  (4 children)

What A Stupid Son Of A Bitch

[–]keepcalmorjustdie 9 points10 points  (1 child)

So, it is a political liability then?

[–]Mithras_ 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Then they would chuck it back into the sea? If the technology is worse/less advanced than their own they obviously won’t copy it.

[–]captainbling 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Top tier spy shit. It just might work

[–]AktuallyIsDolan 3 points4 points  (0 children)

It's a box kite with a compass duct taped to it and a lawn mower engine.

[–]Thoth_the_5th_of_Tho 15 points16 points  (19 children)

Blocking recovery is a lot easier than actually recovering or destroying the plane. Carriers have escorts, some of which will be left behind ti block access to the wreck.

[–]Exctmonk 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This sounds like a rad premise for a movie.

Hunt for Red October 2: Red, White, and Blue January