Navy salvages $117M fighter jet that crashed into aircraft carrier and fell in the ocean

Pilot and six sailors were injured in the January incident in South China Sea

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Friday 04 March 2022 18:41 GMT
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Leaked video shows Navy fighter jet crashing on carrier USS Carl Vinson

The US Navy has salvaged the $117m fighter jet that crashed into the flight deck of an aircraft carrier before falling into the South China Sea.

The F-35C jet suffered a “landing mishap” on the USS Carl Vinson in January, and was pulled up from a depth of 12,400 feet and hauled onto a construction vessel earlier this week.

The aircraft was taken to a “nearby military installation” for an investigation into the incident.

The pilot and six sailors were injured in the crash, which also severed four fo the arresting cables that the carrier uses to catch landing aircraft.

Despite the damage, the carrier was able to launch aircraft again within 45 minutes.

The US Navy has salvaged the $117m fighter jet that crashed into the flight deck of an aircraft carrier before falling into the South China Sea

“When the mishap happened, we had additional aircraft airborne that needed to land,” a defense official told Defense News in February.

“The training kicked in immediately.”

A Navy officer and four senior enlisted leaders were charged with failure to obey an order under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for posting video footage of the incident.

The Vinson, which had been at sea since last August, returned to San Diego in February at the end of its scheduled deployment.

It was the first ever deployment with the F35s onboard a carrier.

“The task force’s expertise in rapid, scalable command, control and communications, agile logistics, organic security, and explosive ordnance disposal was the most flexible choice for the fleet commander to respond in a timely manner,” Captain Gareth Healy, commodore of Task Force 75, said in a Navy news release.

Last March the Navy recovered a helicopter that crashed into the Philippine Sea in January 2020, raising it from a depth of more than 3.6 miles.

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