(NewsNation Now) — After a Navy stealth fighter jet crashed in the South China Sea earlier this week, both the U.S. and China’s Naval forces are in a race to find the aircraft, which analysts say is a “treasure trove” of vital intelligence.
Analysts say if this intelligence is shared with non-allied nations, it could pose a threat to the United States’ security.
On Monday, the U.S. Navy F35C Lightning II combat jet was conducting exercises in the South China Sea, when it crashed while trying to land on the deck of an American aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson. The jet fell into the water. Seven sailors, including the pilot, were injured in the crash, with three evacuated for medical treatment in the Philippines and four treated on board the ship. No deaths were reported.
Details on the crash are still being investigated. But for now, the $100 million combat jet is sitting at the bottom of the sea.
Now, there’s an urgent race to see who can get their hands on it first.
The U.S. Navy won’t say where exactly in the South China Sea the crash happened and it’s unclear how deep the waters are. Beijing has claimed much of the waterway as its territory, and the Chinese Navy maintains a constant presence there.
The Chinese government hasn’t made an official comment on the crash. Military analysts, however, say China will almost certainly want to get a look at the jet and its technology.
The U.S. Navy has done F35 salvage operations before. Late last year, it helped recover a British Royal Navy jet that crashed into the Mediterranean sea.