• The US Navy has recovered a F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jet from the Mediterranean Sea.
  • It was recovered from a depth of around 9,500 feet using a remotely controlled vehicle.
The US Navy fished a sunken F/A-18 Super Hornet

The US Navy said Monday that it recently recovered a sunken F/A-18E Super Hornet that blew off the deck of an aircraft carrier and into the Mediterranean Sea last month.

The Navy said in a statement that it “successfully recovered” the aircraft last week from a depth of around 9,500 feet.

A team aboard the multi-purpose construction ship Everest used a remote-operated vehicle to attach rigging and lift lines to the jet before using a lifting hook to fish the aircraft from the water and onto the Everest, the Navy said.

“Our task tailored team operated safely and efficiently to meet the timeline. The search and recovery took less than 24 hours, a true testament to the team’s dedication and capability,” Lt. Cmdr. Miguel Lewis, a Sixth Fleet salvage officer who helped recover the aircraft, said in the statement.

The jet blew overboard the USS Harry S. Truman in early July because of “unexpected heavy weather” in the Mediterranean, the Navy said at the time. The carrier was in the middle of a replenishment-at-sea when the plane blew off the deck. One sailor suffered minor injuries but has since recovered.

The incident sparked an investigation, as it was not immediately clear how bad weather was able to toss the heavy aircraft into the sea. Since its recovery, the jet has been sent to a nearby military installation where it will be delivered to the US.

The Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornets serve as the main carrier-based fighter jets, though the sea service has begun outfitting some carrier air wings with newer, fifth-generation F-35Cs.

This incident in which an F/A-18 blew overboard marks the third time in less than a year a Western navy has lost a carrier-based fighter to the sea and been forced to deploy additional assets to recover it.

In November last year, a British pilot operating off the UK carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth ditched an F-35B in the Mediterranean, and in January, a US Navy pilot bailed out of an F-35C as the strike fighter crashed on the deck of the carrier USS Carl Vinson and slid off into the South China Sea.

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