It Works Too Well — Marine Corps Can’t Find Missing Stealth Jet Fighter

  • How do you lose track of an entire fighter jet?

The F-35B Lightning II is the pride of the Marine Corps aviation arm. Introduced in 2015, this multirole jet fighter is one of the most advanced in the world.

One of the finest pieces of technology on the aircraft is its stealth system. Even military officials from countries the F-35B could potentially fight against have said their pilots would struggle against the almost invisible jet.

Yet, it turns out the stealth is potentially a bit too advanced. We’re saying that because the Marine Corps has managed to lose an F-35B.

On September 17, a pilot training on the F-35B was forced to eject himself from the plane due to an unspecified “mishap.” Before his ejection, though, he had turned on the fighter jet’s advanced autopilot system.

The problem is that the autopilot didn’t detect anything wrong with the plane. Since the pilot was no longer there to control it, the F-35B just kept flying.

And then it did exactly what a stealth fighter is supposed to do and disappeared.

As of the time we’re writing this piece, the Marine Corps — or anyone else for that matter — has no idea where the plane has gone. They’re fairly certain it’s not airborne anymore but that’s about the best of their guesstimates.

But hey — at least we’ve confirmed that the stealth system works fantastically.

What do you mean you can’t see it? It’s right there!

A Slight Mishap

The missing plane belongs to one of the training squadrons of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, headquartered at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina. On the afternoon of Sunday, September 17, a Marine pilot had taken the plane on a training flight when something happened.

Official authorities have (perhaps understandably) not gone into much detail about what is actually going on. However, Joint Base Charleston (JBC), an air base in the city of North Charleston, South Carolina, released a brief statement about the incident.

According to them, there was a “mishap” during the flight. That’s probably putting it lightly, considering that the plane’s unidentified pilot ejected from the flying aircraft.

The good news there is that the pilot is safe. JBC said they were transported to a local medical center and are in stable condition.

Before the pilot bailed from the jet, though, they had activated its autopilot system. We have to admire how well the autopilot functions because it kept the F-35B airborne after the pilot got out.

Nobody can say for sure at this time what the “mishap” was. Yet, it couldn’t have been that serious because the autopilot simply kept on going.

And then the plane disappeared.

Too Stealthy for Its Own Good

So, the plane flew off. No biggie — air control can just track where it’s going.


Well, that’s not so easy. You see, the F-35B is a first-class stealth combat aircraft.

These kinds of planes feature a whole shebang of advanced engineering and technologies to make them virtually invisible. The cream of the crop is almost entirely undetectable by radar, infrared, visible light, audio, radio waves…

Once again, we can’t help but respect how well the F-35B’s stealth systems work. After the pilot got out, the plane vanished into thin air.

You may now be wondering if there isn’t any kind of tracking device on the airplane. Of course there is — the military isn’t that dumb.

The tracker just doesn’t work.

Jeremy Huggins, a JBC spokesman, told the Washington Post that the tracking device isn’t doing its job “for some reason that we haven’t yet determined.” Perhaps that reason is tied to the “mishap” the pilot encountered.

For the time being, however, the almost invisible plane has disappeared and its tracker isn’t responding. It’s simply gone and no one knows where.

So Where Is It?

Although the officials don’t know where the plane is, by Monday afternoon they were certain it was no longer flying. That makes sense — after all, the B variant of the F-35 exchanges some fuel volume for a system that helps the plane take off on short runways.

That means it has probably run out of fuel by now.

However, no one has called the police to report a fighter jet crashing into their backyard. So, if the plane has fallen down, where did it go?

Well, its last known location was in the vicinity of Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion in South Carolina. The authorities suspect that it now be on the bottom of one of the lakes.

To find it, they’ve mounted a huge search operation. In addition to the Marine Corps, the Air Force, Navy, and local police officers are assisting in the search.

They still don’t know exactly where to look for, though. That’s why the JBC is asking the public to report anything they might know about the plane.

If you’ve seen any fighter jets randomly landing in nearby woods, you might want to give them a call. Then again, considering how sneaky the thing seems to be, we wouldn’t be surprised if it knows how to crash silently, too.