The US’ most advanced F-35 stealth fighter jets may have the ability to dodge enemy missiles, but one of these aircraft recently suffered significant damage after being shot by its own gun.
Developed by the Maryland-headquartered Lockheed Martin, the single-seat, single-engine, all-weather multirole F-35 fighter is considered a supreme fighter that has been designed to perform an array of roles, including both air superiority and strike missions.
One of the most significant features of the F-35 includes is its advanced stealth technology, which enables it to go undetected on radars of enemy aircraft and other weapons systems.
The fighter’s low Radar cross-section (RCS) helps it evade most enemy systems, barring perhaps the Russian-made S-400 defense system, often dubbed ‘stealth killer’.
According to reports, on March 12, the underside of a US Marine Corps F-35B fighter was significantly damaged when a round fired from its underbelly 25mm gun pod exploded after leaving the muzzle of the cannon mounted within.
The incident took place in the skies over the Yuma Range Complex in Arizona during a close air support training sortie which was being carried out at night.
While the Marine Corps did not disclose the identity of the unit to which the F-35 was assigned, it did say the stealthy fighter was one of those based at the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.
Despite the damage to the F-35, there were no injuries to the pilot, who managed to bring the aircraft safely back to base.
“The mishap did not result in any injury to personnel, and an investigation of the incident is currently taking place,” Marine Corps Captain Andrew Wood, a spokesman for the service, said.
With the investigation on, the incident has been categorized as a Class-A mishap by the Naval Safety Center as per reports. A Class A mishap is considered to be of the most severe level.
However, Captain Andrew Wood in a written communique said it was a Class-C mishap and not Class-A.
In terms of accidents related to aviation, Class A mishaps are referred to as the mishaps that result in property damage of at least $2.5 million. The total loss of an aircraft, or casualties, or permanent disabilities of one or more individuals are also categorized under Class A mishap.