Losses and Aviation Safety

E-2D Hawkeye AEW aircraft Takes Out 4 Super Hornet Strike Fighters while landing on USS Abraham Lincoln

The E-2D was recovering [landing] when it “impacted two other aircraft and caused debris impact damage to two additional aircraft,” U.S. Navy Cmdr. Josh Frey, spokesman for the U.S. 5th Fleet.

According to the Naval Safety Center on Aug. 9, 2019 an E-2D Hawkeye propeller aircraft struck two F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft and sent debris flying into two other F/A-18s on the flight deck while attempting to land aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea.

The carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft was recovering [landing] when it “impacted two other aircraft and caused debris impact damage to two additional aircraft,” U.S. Navy Cmdr. Josh Frey, spokesman for the U.S. 5th Fleet, told Military.com via email.

“The landing aircraft was diverted and arrived safely at the divert location. No personnel were injured,” he said. The divert location was not provided for operational security reasons.

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The Naval Safety Center described the incident as a bolter in his report. A bolter happens when the aircraft misses the arresting cable in a landing attempt.

Noteworthy the safety center classified the incident as a Class A mishap. Class A mishaps involve fatalities, severe damage totaling $2 million or more, or a complete loss of the aircraft.

Frey said the affected aircraft are undergoing maintenance.

“There was minor damage to the aircraft involved, all of which is currently being repaired in order to return the aircraft to mission readiness,” he said.

Another incident involving a U.S. Navy E-2 (that time a C model) took place in 2016, during pre-deployment carrier landing qualification flights, when an Hawkeye from Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 123 nearly plunged into the sea after an arresting cable snapped and was unable to slow the incoming aircraft.

Eight sailors were injured and required medical evacuations from the carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, Navy Times reported. A Navy investigation found that flaws in maintenance procedures contributed to the mishap, according to the paper.

The E-2 is a twin engine, five crewmember, high-wing turboprop aircraft with a 24-foot diameter radar rotodome attached to the upper fuselage.

The Hawkeye provides all-weather airborne early warning, airborne battle management and command and control functions for the Carrier Strike Group and Joint Force Commander. Additional missions include surface surveillance coordination, air interdiction, offensive and defensive counter air control, close air support coordination, time critical strike coordination, search and rescue airborne coordination and communications relay.

The E-2D is the latest variant of the long-running E-2 Hawkeye, the Navy’s all-weather, carrier-based AEW&C aircraft.

H/T Christian Nentwig

Photo credit: AMBER SMALLEY / U.S. Navy

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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