An F-35B Joint Strike Fighter shot itself in the skies above Arizona earlier this month, doing at least $2.5 million in damage. The pilot was unharmed and successfully landed the jet. The Pentagon isn’t quite sure how or why the jet shot itself and the incident is still under investigation.
As first reported by Military.com, the F-35 was flying in a training mission at night on March 12 at the Yuman Range Complex in Arizona when it shot itself. This particular F-35 has an externally mounted gatling gun that fires a 25mm armor piercing high explosive round. Sometime during the training, the gun discharged and the round exploded, damaging the underside of the jet.
The pilot landed the jet and a Navy investigation classified the accident as Class A. Class A accidents are the most severe, it’s a classification used when someone in the weapon dies, the whole jet is lost, or the property damage is $2.5 million or greater. “The mishap did not result in any injury to personnel, and an investigation of the incident is currently taking place,” Marine Corps spokesperson Captain Andrew Wood told Military.com.
In 2019 a Dutch F-16 shot itself by flying into a stream of its’ own bullets. In 1956 an F-11 did the same thing. So not unheard of.