Marine Harrier Catches Fire During Takeoff From Ship
by Hope Hodge Seck
Mar 14, 2016
A Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier aboard a ship in the North Arabian Gulf sustained extensive damage when it caught fire during takeoff, Navy officials confirmed to Military.com.
The mishap took place March 8 aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, which is deployed in the U.S. Fifth Fleet with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, said Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.
Around 1 p.m. that day, the Harrier, assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 (Reinforced), had been preparing for takeoff ahead of a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Stephens said. While Stephens did not specify the nature of the mission, aircraft from MEUs deployed to the Middle East have frequently been tasked with airstrikes on Islamic State targets and with surveillance and reconnaissance missions in support of the coalition fight against the extremists.
While applying takeoff power, the Harrier caught fire while still aboard the deck of the Kearsarge, according to an incident report from the Naval Safety Center. The Harrier's pilot was uninjured.
"The pilot safely exited the aircraft on deck with the assistance of Kearsarge and 26 MEU flight deck firefighters," Stephens told Military.com.
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