17:14 GMT26 February 2020
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    The lengthy record of US F-35 fighter jet mishaps soldiers on. This time, a Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike VTOL fighter caught fire during a training mission in October.

    The Marine Corps is conducting an investigation after the F-35B Joint Strike vertical take-off and landing aircraft caught fire during a training mission, according to a Military.com report. The jet caught fire in its weapons bay during a training flight over Beaufort, South Carolina, the website said.

    "The aircraft landed safely and there were no injuries sustained," 1st Lt. John Roberts, a spokesman for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, told reporters. "An investigation is ongoing and we will provide updates as they are available."

    The exact amount of damage has not been disclosed, but it is known that the incident has been classified as a Class A Mishap, which indicates either loss of life or damage above $2 million. This is the first Class A Mishap for the F-35B version of the beleaguered plane. Earlier in September, a Class A Mishap occurred with a conventional take-off and landing F-35A version of the plane, when it also caught fire, soon after the pilot started the plane's engine.

    A 2014 incident caused all F-35s to be grounded until specialists could determine the cause. That time, some $50 million of damage was caused by a rotor arm that detached itself and came through the aircraft's upper fuselage, cutting fuel and hydraulic lines. According to Roberts, it is too early to determine what could have caused the latest accident.

    The incidents have not stopped the Marine Corps from procuring 353 F-35Bs and 67 F-35Cs, to replace their F/A-18 Hornets and a number of other older jets by 2032.

    Earlier this month, defense officials put in a request for $500 million to finish development of the jet, which has already gone 50 percent over its original budget, according to Business Insider.


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    accident, Fire, mishaps, F-35 Lightning II, F-35B, US Marine Corps, United States
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