The US Air Force confirms that a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor crashed at 15:30 local time on 15 November, as it was returning to Tyndall AFB, Florida.

The pilot ejected "safely" from the F-22 and is being evaluated for injuires by base medical staff, the USAF says. Tyndall is an F-22 training base, but the pilot was not a student, the USAF confirms.The crash occurred about 0.2nm (0.4km) east of the drone runway at Tyndall and near Highway 98, which was closed briefly while hazardous materials units responded.

It is the first F-22 crash since a fatal incident in November 2010 which killed Capt Jeff Haney and led to a series of investigations and groundings over glitches and perceived faults in the stealth fighter's oxygen system."There is nothing to indicate that it is related to that," the USAF says.

The service will convene an accident investigation board to determine the cause of the crash.

Until the Tyndall crash, the F-22 fleet had completed 21,000 sorties without the loss of an aircraft. The USAF had removed nearly all of the operating restrictions on the type imposed after the November 2010 crash, with the exception of high-altitude flying above 40,000ft (12,200m).

The latest crash reduces the USAF inventory of F-22s to 182 aircraft, with the last serial number delivered from Lockheed earlier this year.

Source: Flight International