Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet Crashed Into The Philippine Sea

Details are still limited, but a U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to Carrier Air Wing 11 embarked on the Nimitz class aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, crashed in the Philippine Sea earlier today. The jet’s two crew members ejected successfully and were rescued by an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 8 (HSC 8) also assigned to the carrier.

The mishap occurred during routine flight operations on June 18, 2020, according to a statement from the Navy. An investigation into the accident is already underway.

The full statement from the Theodore Roosevelt‘s public affairs division is as follows:

“Two aviators safely ejected and were quickly recovered by a helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) while conducting routine flight operations in the Philippine Sea.”

“The incident occurred as the F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Carrier Air Wing 11 was conducting routine pilot proficiency training. The incident is currently under investigation. Both aviators were assessed by the medical team on board Theodore Roosevelt and are in good condition.”

The statement does not identify the specific squadron that the Super Hornet was assigned to, but USNI News has reported that the only one on the carrier at present to fly the two-seat F/A-18F is Strike Fighter Squadron 154 (VFA-154), the “Black Knights,” which has its home base at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California.

The Theodore Roosevelt, along with Carrier Air Wing 11, only recently resumed operations in the Western Pacific. The ship had spent months in port in Guam earlier this year following a serious COVID-19 outbreak among its crew that devolved in a major political scandal.

This crash also follows a string of U.S. military aviation mishaps in recent months, both in the United States and overseas. Just on June 15, a U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron, part of the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath in the United Kingdom, came down in the North Sea, tragically killing the pilot, 1st Lieutenant Kenneth Allen. 

A C-130H Hercules airlifter also overshot the runway at Camp Taji in Iraq, hitting a wall and suffering a subsequent fire, last week. In May, an Air Force F-22 Raptor and one of that service’s F-35A Joint Strike Fighters crashed in separate incidents while operating out of Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. 

Another F-15C went skidding off the runway at Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington, D.C. that same month after making an emergency landing. The nose landing gear on another F-35A collapsed after that jet also made an emergency landing at Hill Air Force Base in Utah earlier this month.

We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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