Washington, Sept 28 (AFP) A US F-35 fighter was completely destroyed in a crash while training Friday, officials said. The pilot safely ejected. Also Read - Afghanistan: Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Attack on Sikh Gathering at Gurdwara in Kabul, 27 Killed

The crash appears to be the first of its kind for the troubled F-35 program, marking an unfortunate moment for the most expensive plane in history. Also Read - US Lawyer Blames China For Coronavirus Outbreak, Demands $20 Trillion For Damages Caused By the Pandemic

Speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of an official announcement, a defense official told AFP that the Marine Corps F-35 had crashed outside Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina. Also Read - Man Uses Fake Doctor’s Note To Claim He Had Coronavirus, His Office Closes For 5 Days

“It’s a total loss,” the official said.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office said the pilot safely ejected and was being evaluated for injuries.

Unit costs vary, but the price tag of F-35s is around $100 million each.

The crash comes just one day after the US military first used the F-35, which has been beset with delays and cost overruns, in combat. Multiple Marine Corps F-35s struck Taliban targets in Afghanistan.

Launched in the early 1990s, the F-35 program is considered the most expensive weapons system in US history, with an estimated cost of some USD 400 billion and a goal to produce 2,500 aircraft in the coming years.

Once servicing and maintenance costs for the F-35 are factored in over the aircraft’s lifespan through 2070, overall program costs are expected to rise to USD 1.5 trillion. AFP NSA

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.