A Lockheed Martin F-35A was damaged on 23 June after a fire erupted in the aft section of the fuselage during a take-off attempt from Eglin AFB, Florida, says a base spokeswoman.

The pilot aborted the take-off attempt due to the fire and exited the aircraft without injury, she says. Further details have not been released.

Emergency crews responded to the fire, which was reported at 09:15, and used foam to extinguish the flames, the spokeswoman says.

The cause of the fire is now under investigation.

The F-35A involved in the fire is one of 49 examples of all three versions of the F-35 based at Eglin.

Lockheed has received a total of 125 orders for the conventional take-off and landing variant through the first eight lots of low rate initial production, including six international customers.

The incident comes two weeks before three F-35Bs are scheduled to cross the Atlantic Ocean to participate in the Royal International Air Tattoo and the Farnborough air show.

It appears to be the second major fire that has erupted inside the aircraft on the ground.

The F-35 test fleet was grounded for several weeks in 2011 after a fire erupted in the integrated power package (IPP) subsystem on board an F-35A.

In the 2011 incident, the fire was traced to the failure of a critical valve. The IPP is a small turbine that starts the Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan engine and provides initial power for onboard systems.

As the F135 begins generating power, the valve opens to allow bleed air from the engine to take over the role of managing the onboard systems from the IPP.

Source: FlightGlobal.com