Navy Aggressor F-5 Crashes Off Key West

The pilot of a U.S. Navy F-5N Tiger II adversary jet has been rescued after ejecting from their plane off Key West, Florida, this morning. An initial statement from the Navy indicates that the pilot ejected around 25 miles from Boca Chica Field, at around 9:20 A.M.

The pilot was recovered from the water by an MH-60S Seahawk search and rescue helicopter assigned to Key West. The helicopter transported the pilot to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, for further evaluation, as seen in the video below:

The Navy is yet to provide the pilot’s identity and current condition but did confirm that the pilot was from the Fighter Squadron Composite 111 (VFC-111), known as the “Sun Downers,” a U.S. Navy Reserve adversary squadron based at Naval Air Station Key West.

These adversary aircraft are used primarily to simulate low-to-mid-level threats during dissimilar air combat training. As well as VFC-111, these jets also serve with VFA-204 “River Rattlers,” based at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans, Louisiana, another Navy Reserve unit that specializes in red air. Meanwhile, Marine Corps examples are operated by Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 (VMFT-401) at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona.

An F-5N from Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401. U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Kimberlyn Adams

The F-5Ns are going through an upgrade to make them similar to the private red air contractor Tactical Air’s F-5AT configuration, which includes substantial enhancements you can read about here.

The Navy has stated that the cause of the incident will be investigated.

This is a developing story and will be updated once more details become available.

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