Parts of a Marine F-35B jet broke off and got sucked into the intake in May, causing damage to the aircraft, the Marine Corps confirmed.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. on May 16, the ladder hatch broke free from an F-35B jet with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing’s Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, based in Iwakuni, Japan, Marine spokesman 2nd Lt. Dan Kim said in a statement to Marine Corps Times on May 22.

The hatch became unfastened during “routine basic fighter maneuver training,” according to Kim.

The intake — the part of the aircraft through which air is drawn — ingested some unlatched parts, according to Kim.

The pilot returned to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, and exited the jet, stated Kim, who added that no injuries were reported.

The Naval Safety Command labeled the incident a Class A mishap, meaning that property damage amounted to at least $2.5 million.

The Marine Corps is investigating the incident, according to Kim.

Russell Goemaere, a spokesman for the F-35 Joint Program Office, in a statement Thursday that he couldn’t comment on the cause of the incident while the investigation was ongoing.

“Initial findings have not discovered any safety of flight issues that would impact the fleet,” Goemaere said. “The safety of our warfighters is our primary concern.”

The F-35B is the F-35 variant that can perform short takeoffs and vertical landings, meaning it is able to operate from amphibious assault ships of the kind the Marine Corps uses.

The Marine Corps is gradually replacing some of its older fixed-wing aircraft, including the AV-8B Harrier and the F/A-18 Hornet, with the F-35B.

Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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