A SUPERSONIC British fighter jet plunged into the Mediterranean Sea this morning before Top Brass scrambled salvage crews to recover the top-secret wreckage.

The £100m RAF F35 from the UK's flagship aircraft carrier crashed during a routine flying operation from HMS Queen Elizabeth.

PA:Press AssociationAn RAF F35 - one of the world's most advanced aircraft '/ '

The state-of-the-art jet, one of the world's most advanced, ditched into international waters and was destroyed on impact with the waves.

A Brit pilot, who has not been named, was forced to eject but was rescued on a Merlin search and rescue chopper and is safely onboard the aircraft carrier.

The plane, which can reach 1.6 times the speed of sound, got into trouble between Cyprus and Egypt at about 10am UK time, it is understood.

It was operated by the RAF's world-famous 617 Squadron, which was formed in 1943 for the Dambusters raid on German dams.

It is thought to be the first non-US loss of an F35B - which has short take-off and vertical landing capabilities like the UK's now-retired Harrier jump jet.

Enemy action is not thought to have been at play, and an investigation is likely to focus on potential technical or human error.

No other vessels or aircraft were involved and all other operations and training will continue.

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A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said: ...A British F35 pilot from HMS Queen Elizabeth ejected during routine flying operations in the Mediterranean this morning.

...The pilot has been safely returned to the ship and an investigation has begun, so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time....

Officials are now desperately trying to claim what they can from the debris before Russian forces come sniffing.

Top Guns on the carrier had sparred with Russian MiG and Sukhoi jets when they sailed east on the carrier strike group's maiden round the world voyage earlier in the summer.

According to the RAF website, the jet's technology enables it to operate undetected in hostile airspace.

The UK has pledged to buy 138 F-35B aircraft but only 24 have been delivered.

...No we've got 23,... a source added.

There were 18 onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, eight belonging to the UK and 10 to the US Marine Corps.

Jets from the vessel previously participated in strikes against the remnants of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.


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