F-35 pilot who died in training jet crash off Scotland was a U.K. national

(CNN) — One of two F-35 fighter jets from Britain’s elite Royal Air Force squadron crashed off the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth Thursday while training at sea, the British Ministry of Defence said.

“The casualty was a pilot on board a UK F-35B. His fate is unknown at this time, however, he is not in danger,” the ministry said in a statement.

The crew were on a training flight from the aircraft carrier off the coast of Scotland, according to the Ministry of Defense.

The crash was not on the deck of the aircraft carrier and did not injure any other crewmembers.

The Ministry of Defense said the incident was being investigated.

The British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to be in service in 2019 with the Royal Navy.

The F-35B is an unmanned version of the stealth jet fighter, built by Lockheed Martin, according to Lockheed.

It features an advanced sensor suite and onboard computers, enabling the plane to avoid detection by enemy radar. It can also track enemy aircraft and missiles.

Initially four jets were scheduled to be delivered to the Royal Air Force, but the official decision was made this year to deploy 16. Lockheed Martin announced this fall that the first batch of those 16 jets had arrived at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, Britain.

Royal Air Force director of air capabilities, Lt. Gen. Jeff Gurr, said at the time that the F-35s would provide the RAF with “rapid-reaction close air support capabilities, which give the air crew the ability to identify, identify, then engage the threat as it moves within a target area.”

The UK Ministry of Defense said one fighter jet crashed aboard the USS George H.W. Bush, a U.S. aircraft carrier, during a training exercise in international waters in the Pacific on July 6. The incident was considered an accident and not an attack.

This article was written by CNN’s Julia Edwards Ainsley and Benjamin Haas. CNN’s Reena Ninan contributed to this report.

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