F-35 Crashes After Leaving Lockheed Martin Factory

The $90 million plane had just left the plant.

A $90 million F-35 fighter jet is a total loss after a catastrophic accident this week.

According to reports, the plane had left an assembly plant in Texas, en route to a California Air Force base, when it crashed into a hillside.

The pilot of the craft was able to eject before the impact, which sent up a huge plume of black smoke. Still, the unnamed pilot was taken to the hospital with serious injuries and two people on the ground were reportedly evaluated and released.

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    Lockheed Martin, the producer of the plane, confirmed to the AP that the crash occurred when the pilot stopped to refuel at Kirtland Air Force Base near Albuquerque. This individual has been identified as a pilot for the Defense Contract Management Agency, an agency of the Department of Defense and is said to be in stable condition.

    Lockheed Martin released a statement saying that "safety is our priority, and we will follow appropriate investigation protocol."

    The aircraft is being described as a test jet that was in the process of transferring to Edwards AFB for additional updates. The F-35 Joint Program Office, in a statement, clarified that the jet had been accepted by the government in September, but it was โ€œrecently undergoing modification.โ€

    The F-35 program will carry an estimated cost, over its lifespan, of more than $2 trillion.

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