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10:22 AM, November 9, 2016
F-35 Catches Fire In Its Weapons Bay During Training Mission

The U.S. Marine Corps is investigating after the Jump jet version of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter caught a fire in its weapons bay during a training mission in October.

F-35B Joint Strike vertical take-off and landing aircraft caught fire on October 27 in its weapons bay during a training flight over Beaufort, South Carolina. "The aircraft landed safely and there were no injuries sustained," 1st Lt. John Roberts, a spokesman for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, said.

"An investigation is ongoing and we will provide updates as they are available." He was quoted as saying by military.com Monday.

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 troubled 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.

The F-35 program has suffered several setbacks due to aircraft catching fire. Similar incident had happened in June 2014 as well. The incident had caused all F-35s to be grounded until specialists could determine the cause. About $50 million damage had occurred by a rotor arm that detached itself and came through the aircraft’s upper fuselage, cutting fuel and hydraulic lines.

In spite of such incidents, the Marine Corps is continuing to procure 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.

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