The United States Navy has announced the recovery of the F-35C Lightning II Aircraft that fell into the South China Sea earlier this year. The USN’s Japan-based Seventh Fleet executed an operation to recover the fighter jet with a remote-controlled vehicle. This vehicle extracted the F-35C 12,400 feet from the surface and was hoisted onto a civilian contracted ship called the Picasso. Capt. Gareth Healy, the commander of the salvage task force, said in a statement that this “deliberate approach resulted in the correct capabilities conducting recovery operations within 37 days of the incident.” Healy said, “Given the unique challenges of this problem … this was an aggressive and achievable timeline.”
After the accident, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said, “We’re certainly mindful of the value of an F-35 in every respect of what value means. … And as we continue to attempt recovery of the aircraft we’re going to do it obviously with safety foremost in mind, but clearly our own national security interests. And I think I will just leave it at that.” According to the Arms Control Center, the F-35C variant of the F-35 family of fighter jets costs approximately $117 million dollars in total to produce when taking into account the cost of maintenance, logistics support, and other ancillary costs.