The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times

A fire broke out on a F-35 Joint Strike Fighter after an attempted takeoff at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

The radar-evading, supersonic fighter jet, a nearly $400 billion weapons program under development for more than a decade, experienced the emergency on the ground Monday at 10:15 a.m. Eastern time.

The aircraft was preparing to take off on a training mission, but aborted due to flames that appeared in the back end of the aircraft. Emergency responders then moved in and extinguished the fire with foam, according to an Air Force statement.

The pilot left the aircraft uninjured, officials said.

It’s the latest setback for the F-35 program, which is billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule. The per-plane cost estimates have gone from $78 million in 2001 to $135 million today, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Testing the F-35 is key to the Pentagon’s ultimate plan to build 2,457 of the planes. Known as the Joint Strike Fighter, the program centered around a plan to develop one basic fighter plane that could — with a few manufacturing tweaks — be used by the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.

The idea is that it can take off and land on runways and aircraft carriers, as well as hover like a helicopter. No one stealthy fighter aircraft has had all these capabilities. From an engineering standpoint, it’s a challenging task for plane maker Lockheed Martin Corp. because the requirements of the different services vary so much.

Problems repeatedly crop up in flight testing. On June 13, test flights were temporarily halted and mandatory inspections were ordered for all versions of the jets after a Marine F-35 suffered an in-flight emergency with its engine.

At Eglin, the Air Force has not yet uncovered a reason for the fire. But the military said additional details will be provided as they become available. The 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin provides F-35 pilot and maintainer training for the Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force.

It is not yet clear how the event will affect the more than 100 F-35s that are flying at various bases around the country. However, all F-35 flight operations for the Air Force at Eglin have been temporarily suspended as the military investigates the cause of the incident.

“The pilot followed the appropriate procedures which allowed for the safe abort of the mission, engine shutdown, and egress,” Navy Capt. Paul Haas, 33rd Fighter Wing vice commander, said in a statement. “We take all ground emergencies seriously.”

Photo: gregwest98 via Flickr

Interested in national news? Sign up for our daily email newsletter!

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Donald Trump
Youtube Screenshot

Allies of former President Donald Trump have advised members of the Republican Party to cool down their inflammatory rhetoric toward the United States Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation following the execution of a search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida on Monday.

Trump supporters, right-wing pundits, and lawmakers have been whipped into a frenzy over what Trump called a "raid" by federal agents in pursuit of classified documents removed from the White House during Trump's departure from office.

Keep reading... Show less

Former President Donald Trump

Youtube Screenshot

On August 20, 2022, Donald Trump will have been gone from the White House for 19 months. But Trump, unlike other former presidents, hasn’t disappeared from the headlines by any means — and on Monday, August 8, the most prominent topic on cable news was the FBI executing a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in South Florida. Countless Republicans, from Fox News hosts to Trump himself, have been furiously railing against the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). And in an article published by Politico on August 11, reporters Kyle Cheney and Meridith McGraw describe the atmosphere of “paranoia” and suspicion that has become even worse in Trumpworld since the search.

“A wave of concern and even paranoia is gripping parts of Trumpworld as federal investigators tighten their grip on the former president and his inner circle,” Cheney and McGraw explain. “In the wake of news that the FBI agents executed a court-authorized search warrant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, Trump’s allies and aides have begun buzzing about a host of potential explanations and worries. Among those being bandied about is that the search was a pretext to fish for other incriminating evidence, that the FBI doctored evidence to support its search warrant — and then planted some incriminating materials and recording devices at Mar-a-Lago for good measure — and even that the timing of the search was meant to be a historical echo of the day President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974.”

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}