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A bird beat up a Marine Corps F-35B fighter, causing at least $2 million in damages
A bird reportedly managed to bang up an F-35 stealth fighter to the tune of at least $2 million.
A Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighter was recently forced to abort take-off after a surprise bird strike, Maj. Eric Flanagan, a spokesman for 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, told Marine Corps Times. The fighter never took flight and "safely taxied off the runway," but it didn't escape the situation unscathed.
An initial assessment of the incident identified this as a Class A mishap, meaning that the $115 million aircraft suffered more than $2 million in damages. A safety investigation, as well as a more comprehensive damage assessment, are currently underway. Birds sucked into an engine's intake can destroy an engine, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing.
It's unclear what exactly happened to the bird, but odds are the end result wasn't pleasant.
Pilots with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 (VMFAT-501) fly the F-35B Lightning II during the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Air Show on April 27, 2018(U.S. Marine Corps/Warrant Officer Bobby J. Yarbrough)
Birds like Canada Geese, which graze on grass at the edges of air fields, are a constant problem for military aircraft. Four years ago, a U.S. military helicopter crashed in the UK, killing all four crew members after the aircraft collided with a flock of geese.
Between 1985 and 2016, bird strikes killed 36 American airmen, destroyed 27 U.S. Air Force aircraft and cost the service almost a billion dollars, according to the 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs Office at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Between 2011 and 2017, the USAF experienced 418 wildlife-related mishaps, resulting in $182 million in damages, according to Military Times.
Federal Aviation Administration data, according to USA Today, revealed that in 2018 alone there were 14,661 reported bird strikes involving civilian aircraft in the US.
Ellsworth Air Force Base, home to a collection of B-1 bombers, has deployed bird cannons to keep its $400 million bombers safe from birds.
Last month, a hawk went head-to-head with an Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon during a routine landing at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, Task and Purpose reported. In that case, the hawk definitely lost.
The latest incident is the third major mishap for an F-35B following last September's crash and a fire back a few years back, according to Military.com.
Read more from Business Insider:
- An Air Force base just deployed this new weapon in the fight to save its expensive bombers from nature
- U.S. fighters and bombers flew over the Persian Gulf in a warning to Iran
- U.S. ally pulls warship away from a carrier group as risk of conflict with Iran skyrockets
- North Korea accuses US of 'unlawful brutal robbery' after it commandeered a cargo ship
- 'When you mess one up, you die': What it takes to do one of the U.S. military's most dangerous jobs
WATCH NEXT: An F-35B Lands On The USS Wasp
The bad guys in 'John Wick 3' aren't even cold in their graves and a sequel already has a release date
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum only came out on May 17, but the titular hitman is already gearing up to lay siege to theaters in 2021.
On Monday, Lionsgate announced to fans in a cryptic text message that, "You have served. You will be of service. John Wick: Chapter 4 is coming – May 21, 2021," according to Polygon.
Top Navy official calls out government lawyers for spying on legal team of Navy SEAL accused of war crimes
In a scathing letter, a top Navy legal official on Sunday expressed "grave ethical concerns" over revelations that government prosecutors used tracking software in emails to defense lawyers in ongoing cases involving two Navy SEALs in San Diego.
The letter, written by David G. Wilson, Chief of Staff of the Navy's Defense Service Offices, requested a response by Tuesday from the Chief of the Navy's regional law offices detailing exactly what type of software was used and what it could do, who authorized it, and what controls were put in place to limit its spread on government networks.
"As our clients learn about these extraordinary events in the media, we are left unarmed with any facts to answer their understandable concerns about our ability to secure the information they must trust us to maintain. This situation has become untenable," Wilson wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Task & Purpose on Monday.
The Navy is changing its pilot call sign approval process after African-American aviators complained of racist designations
The head of naval aviation has directed the creation of a new process for approving and reviewing pilots' call signs after two African-American aviators at an F/A-18 Hornet training squadron in Virginia filed complaints alleging racial bias in the unit, from which they said they were unfairly dismissed.
In a formal endorsement letter signed May 13, Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller, commander of Naval Air Forces, said he found the two aviators, a Navy lieutenant and a Marine Corps captain, were correctly removed from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 out of Naval Air Station Oceana due to "substandard performance," despite errors and inconsistencies discovered in the grading and ranking process.
However, Miller said he did find inappropriate conduct by instructor pilots who did not treat the pilots-in-training "with appropriate dignity and respect," using discriminatory call signs and having inappropriate and unprofessional discussions about them on social media.