A Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was severely damaged — possibly destroyed — in a Monday morning fire on the runway at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., USNI News learned.
No injuries were reported and officials have begun an investigation into the incident, defense officials told USNI News on Monday.
“The aircraft was preparing to conduct a continuation training mission at the time of the incident, but aborted during takeoff at Eglin Air Force Base due to a fire in the back end of the aircraft,” according to a Monday statement provided to USNI News from the Air Force.
“Emergency responders extinguished the fire with foam.”
The aircraft was a F-35A — the Air Force variant of the fighter — assigned to the 33rd “Nomads” Fighter Wing. The wing is schoolhouse for all versions of the JSF and trains sailors, airmen and Marines.
I’m not going to read too much into this. By this stage of their development, most aircraft have suffered mishaps that resulted in strikes. But it surely isn’t helping the program to have one erupt in flames.