Marine Corps F-35 Takes Nosedive in Hangar While Being Used by Navy Top Gun School

U.S. Marine F-35C Lightning II pilot
U.S. Marine F-35C Lightning II pilot with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 311, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), speaks to Erik Raven, the Under Secretary of the Navy, about F-35C Lightning II during a tour on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, July 28, 2023. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Joshua Brittenham) 

A Marine Corps jet on loan to the Navy for its Top Gun school took a nosedive last month while in a hangar at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, the Corps told on Friday.

An image of the jet, an F-35C Lightning II, was posted on social media earlier this month showing it face-planted onto the concrete in a hangar. reached out to 3rd Marine Air Wing, or 3rd MAW, the unit that owns the roughly $100 million fifth-generation fighter jet, last week asking to confirm the incident.

A spokesperson for 3rd MAW, Capt. Stephanie Leguizamon, said that the nose gear of the F-35 "collapsed" following shutdown procedures on the flight line at the naval air station. The jet was parked when it collapsed on Jan. 26, she said.

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"The damage was confined to the nose landing gear, and we expect this jet to be repaired and fully operational soon," Leguizamon said. "There were no injuries to any military or civilian personnel."

The jet was loaned to the Navy to support its Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, more popularly referred to as the Top Gun school. The school teaches naval aviators how to fly jets like the F-35, as well as the F-16 Fighting Falcon and F/A-18 Super Hornet, and was popularized by the film series of the same name.

The jet was provided by Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 311, according to Leguizamon and the insignia on the side of the jet in the social media post. VMFA-311 is based out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California.

"The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing routinely provides aircraft and maintenance personnel to support Top Gun students and the overall course," Leguizamon said. originally reached out to 3rd MAW last week about the incident.

The publication also asked for an estimate of the damage, but Leguizamon said that the incident is under investigation and that the cost of the damage "is being assessed through our investigative process."

This is not the first time that an F-35 has taken a nosedive. In 2022, a Marine Corps F-35B's nose cone was damaged after it made a "precautionary landing" at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. In that instance, the jet's landing gear failed while being towed to the flight line.

The F-35 is flown by the Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy. The overall F-35 program, which saw its first flight nearly two decades ago, costs roughly $1.7 trillion. The jet, which can reach speeds of more than 1,200 miles per hour and has capabilities to jam radars, track enemy aircraft and tell its pilot minute details about its performance, is the most advanced fighter aircraft developed to date.

Last year, the Marine Corps temporarily lost one of the fighter jets over South Carolina, prompting Joint Base Charleston to ask the public for help in finding it. After a daylong search, it was located in a debris field roughly two hours north of the base.

Related: After Daylong Search, Likely F-35 Debris Found After Jet Went Missing in South Carolina

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