A United States Marine Corps Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II or Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) fighter aircraft was badly damaged when one of the projectiles exploded while its cannon was fired during a target practice.
The events occurred on March 12 and were reported days later by the press of the Marines or the United States Marine Corps (USMC), known as Marine Corps Time. These media confirmed that the incident occurred while the hunter was conducting a night air support or close air support (CAS) training mission at a firing range at USMC Yuma Air Station, Arizona-southern United States.
During a target practice, a 25mm PGU-32 / SAPHEI-T projectile fired from the externally installed Gatling cannon through a nacelle attached directly under the fuselage of the F-35B exploded, likely while exiting the barrel the weapon, which significantly fragments the hull. The incident has been classified as a Class A mishap, which are considered the most serious, according to the Naval Safety Center or the Naval Safety Center, as this classification implies that the damage is at least $ 2.5 million.
Despite the damage the fighter sustained in the projectile explosion, the F-35B landed without any problems, according to the Naval Safety Center, which is already thoroughly investigating the incident. USMC spokesman Capt. Andrew Wood said in a statement that the accident did not cause any injury to staff.
The F-35B is one of the three variants of the F-35 that, like the F-35C version, which was developed for operation with large aircraft carriers of the United States Navy or the US Navy, is equipped with a detachable external pod. However, the F-35As, which are intended for conventional operation at airfields, are from the series at their plant in Fort Worth, Texas, with the cannon installed in the device. The weapon is standard in all three variants, a 25 mm GAU-22 / A Gatling cannon with four rotating barrels that can fire more than 3,000 rounds per minute. Since the system has 220 rounds in its funnels, meaning an F-35B pilot can empty the magazine in about 4 seconds, they must be fired very rationally.
The first real fire test of the externally-mounted GAU-22A cannon on an F-35B was conducted in 2016, just a year after the aircraft reached initial serviceability (IOC). It should be noted that the USMC’s F-35B made their combat debut, operating from the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD-2), from which it launched several operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2018. (Juli Maz Sanz).
Photo: A VMFA-211 F-35B prepares for takeoff from the USS Essex. The 25 mm cannon case is located under the fuselage. (U.S. Navy photo)
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