The F/A-18F sucked debris into both of its engines during the mishap which took place on Jan. 27, 2020, causing at least $2.5 million in damage to the aircraft, according to the Navy Safety Center.
No injuries were reported in the mid-air refueling incident which involved two F/A-18F Super Hornet strike fighters from Strike Fighter Squadron 106 (VFA-106) — the Gladiators — based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach.
Nevertheless, one of the F/A-18Fs sucked debris into both of its engines during the mishap which took place on Jan. 27, 2020, causing at least $2.5 million in damage to the aircraft, according to the Navy Safety Center.
One jet was receiving fuel when it ripped the fueling basket from the other aircraft and sucked debris from it into its engines, Naval Air Force Atlantic spokesperson Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg said to Navy Times.
Both the Super Hornets were able to land safely to Oceana, where their flight originated.
“The cause of the mishap is under investigation,” Cragg added.
The Naval Safety Center classified the mishap Class A. Noteworthy an incident is classified as Class A when an aircraft suffers more than $2 million in damage, is totally destroyed or involves a serious or fatal injury to the aircrew.
It’s the fourth Class A aviation reported by the safety center since the new federal fiscal year began on Oct. 1.
It also follows a similar mid-air refueling incident involving VFA-106 in mid-December.
Another Class A mid-air refueling mishap took place on Aug. 22, 2018 when an F-35C jet assigned to VFA-125 ingested debris from an aerial refueling basket while receiving fuel from an F/A-18F Super Hornet from VFA-103.
In that case the pilot recovered the aircraft back aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72).
Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Abraham Essenmacher / U.S. Navy