A Marine jet experienced a "main landing gear anomaly" at an air station in southern California last week. No personnel were harmed, a Marine Corps spokesperson told Military.com on Tuesday, but video purportedly of the incident quickly gained traction over the weekend.
The "anomaly" occurred on Oct. 18 "following a safe, routine landing as part of pre-planned training," Maj. Natalie Batcheler, a spokesperson for 3rd MAW, told Military.com in an emailed statement. She added that the incident is under investigation.
It is unclear what caused the malfunction, which comes after a summer of high-profile, sometimes deadly aircraft incidents for the Marine Corps.
The F/A-18C Hornet, a single-seat aircraft, belongs to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, or MAW, based out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, where the incident took place.
Military.com sent the video that was circulating online to the 3rd MAW.
"While I don't know who [or] where the video came from, and the quality is low and it is dark, it does appear to be the same incident," Batcheler said.
The video shows what appears to be a fire under the belly of the aircraft as it lumbers along an airstrip. Smoke can be seen billowing from the jet. Another cut of the video shows emergency personnel responding to the scene.
"This award provides optimal support for F/A-18 E-G combat flight operations," Lt. Cmdr. Peter Kojm, branch head for F/A-18 air vehicles, said at the time. "Without this vehicle, which will allow overhaul performance to begin immediately, landing gear components would continue to corrode and rust, making them a landing risk, and the F/A-18 would not be able to perform its mission."
In August, Boeing obtained an additional three-year contract to repair the Navy's Super Hornets. The order is expected to be completed by August 2026, according to the Defense Department.
The service has suffered a number of aircraft mechanical issues this year. In August, a Marine pilot was killed when his F/A-18D Hornet crashed near Miramar. That aircraft belonged to the 2nd MAW. That same month, an MV-22 Osprey crashed off the northern coast of Australia, killing three Marines.
In September, three Ospreys made forced landings in Japan following "caution indications" in their cockpits. Later that month, a Marine Corps F-35 went missing for more than 24 hours after the pilot ejected over South Carolina, spurring the Corps to ask the public for help in locating the nearly $100 million jet.
-- Drew F. Lawrence can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on X @df_lawrence.