Editor’s Note: There is nothing good about your aircraft catching fire–that’s a given. To make matters worse, the suck factor compounds when you add factors of being full up with fuel, live ordnance, while taking off…and at sea. That is exactly what happened to a Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier last week while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. Although damage to the aircraft is extensive, thankfully no one was injured.

A Marine AV-8B Harrier was severely damaged last week after it caught fire while preparing to take off from the amphibious assault ship Kearsarge for a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

The incident happened about 1 p.m. on March 8 in the Persian Gulf, said Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. The Harrier was assigned to Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 (Reinforced), which is currently deployed with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Marine Corps Harrier Catches Fire On Takeoff
USMC Harrier pilots debrief after a sortie during Red Flag-Alaska at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks. (Photo by Jonathan Derden)

No one was hurt in the mishap, Stephens said. Investigators are trying to determine what caused the fire and if the Harrier can be returned to service.

The review of this mishap is expected to take between three and eight months, said Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns.

“The Marine Corps rigorously investigates all aviation mishaps to identify the causes, learn from them, and rectify the problems that occurred,” Burns said. “The investigation into the March 8 AV-8B Harrier II mishap just began.

“The investigatory process is very thorough and is intended to find the cause of the mishap in order to prevent the same thing from happening again. The findings and recommendations from this comprehensive process could potentially save future lives. Because the process is so thorough, it takes time.”

The original article in its entirety can be viewed here at the Marine Corps Times.