Seven US military personnel stationed in the South China Sea suffered injuries on Monday after an aircraft carrier accident. An F-35C warplane failed to land correctly on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson according to the Navy. The fighter pilot of the warplane ejected prior to impact.
The Navy said the accident occurred during a routine flight operation. They did not disclose the status of the jet, however, which carries a $94 million value.
“The pilot safely ejected from the aircraft. A U.S. military helicopter made the recovery,” the Navy statement said. “The pilot is in stable condition. There were seven total sailors injured.”
According to the statement, three of the injured sailors required evacuation to a medical facility in nearby Manilla. Onboard medics treated the other four sailors. Everyone involved is in stable condition.
What sort of equipment was involved
The Navy also said the “inflight mishap” is under investigation. “The status of the aircraft is currently under investigation as are the factors involved in the mishap,” said Brenda Way, a spokesperson for the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
The USS Carl Vinson, a nuclear-powered carrier, deployed from San Diego in August for its maiden voyage. It currently carries F-35C Lightning II fighter jets and Navy CMV-22B Osprey aboard. The F-35C can fly 1.6 times the speed of sound and has a combat radius of 600 nautical miles.
“Vinson is the first carrier to accommodate a mix of 4th- and 5th- generation strike fighters, providing unprecedented lethality and survivability and ensuring the Navy team can operate and win in contested battlespace now and well into the future,” said Capt. Tommy Locke, commander of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, in August.
The Pentagon said that two Naval carrier groups recently entered the South China Sea over the weekend. The Vinson is accompanied by the USS Abraham Lincoln. Officially, the carriers entered the disputed waters for training; but Taiwan recently reported a new Chinese air force incursion just north of the sea.
The size of these carriers is enormous, as well. The Vinson carries upwards of 5,000 crew member alone. It also supports 65 aircrafts.
A similar F-35 mishap occurred late last year in the Mediterranean when a British pilot failed to take off from a Royal Navy aircraft carrier. The pilot ejected in that scenario, too, and the Brits recovered the aircraft.
The US Navy wants to test its carrier resiliency
America’s Naval carrier fleet was in the news recently for a very different reason, too. According to military officials, the Navy wants to know how much shock their fleet can withstand, so they created an experiment.
They detonated explosives near the USS Gerald R. Ford to see how much impact the hull could take. According to the report, the ship handled three underwater 40,000 pound blasts.
The USS Gerald R. Ford is the newest and most advanced ship in the Navy’s fleet.