by Sabrina Salas Matanane
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Two fighter jets collided while in mid-air Saturday evening over the Western Pacific Ocean. The jets were the F/A-18 Hornets assigned to the Strike Fighter Squadron 146 and the Carrier Air Wing 9 aboard the USS John C. Stennis. The collision happened at approximately 8pm while the Hornets were conducting and air defense training mission.
The jets were able to continue flying after the collision and in fact landed safely at Andersen Air Force Base in Yigo. The pilots are both reported to be in good condition. The Stennis group is transiting the Western Pacific to participate in the Valiant Shield exercises that begin today off of Guam's shores. The cause of the collision is currently under investigation.
Navy jet crashes into sea
Pilot ejects, is rescued 400 miles southeast of Guam
By Eric Palacios
Pacific Daily News
Article published Aug 1, 2007
The pilot of an F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 195 is safe today after his jet crashed at sea Monday night during a training mission from USS Kitty Hawk, according to the U.S. 7th Fleet.
The pilot ejected and was safely recovered by a U.S. Navy helicopter shortly after the incident, which occurred about 400 miles southeast of Guam.
"He was treated by medical professionals for injuries that were non-life threatening," the U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs Office said via telephone from Hawaii.
The aircraft was conducting routine training at the time of the crash, around 9 p.m., the 7th Fleet public affairs officer said.
The pilot's name is not being released and the Navy is conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the crash. The F/A-18C is a single-seat fighter-and-attack aircraft. The squadron operates from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, and is embarked on Kitty Hawk.
The Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group is on its summer deployment in the western Pacific Ocean and is expected to take part in the upcoming Valiant Shield exercises with other U.S. forces and partners throughout Australia and Asia later this month.
The carrier made a port visit to Guam in June and is the U.S. Navy's lone overseas-based aircraft carrier. The carrier is homeported in Yokosuka, Japan.
The Kitty Hawk strike group is the U.S. Navy's largest and includes the carrier, seven ships of Destroyer Squadron 15, two Aegis weapons-system-equipped guided-missile cruisers and CVW 5, according to the Navy. $35M price tag
The jet that crashed at sea Monday night had an estimated $35 million price tag in 2003. The primary users of the jet are the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Spanish Air Force.
The jets are manufactured by McDonnell Douglas/Boeing Northrop and designed by McDonnell Douglas. They were first introduced Jan. 7, 1983, and 1,458 of the Hornets were built. Valiant Shield '06
In June 2006, the island and its waters played a major role in an impressive display of American power that was observed by a Chinese delegation.
Valiant Shield was the largest gathering of aircraft carriers in the Pacific since the Vietnam War.
The exercise brought together more than 20,000 personnel, three carriers, more than 20 ships and more than 200 aircraft.
The exercise also served as a diplomatic bridge between U.S. officials and the 10-member Chinese delegation of politicians and military commanders.
Guam has been key to the U.S. approach to dealing with China. The U.S. approach is centered on turning a potential foe into a friend.