US Navy F-35C crashes on USS Carl Vinson

A US Navy F-35C Lightning II assigned to Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2) was involved in a landing accident on board the aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), during routine flight operations on January 24.

The pilot ejected safely and was reported to be in a stable condition after being recovered by a US military helicopter. Seven sailors were injured and three of them were taken to a medical facility in Manila, Philippines, where they were in stable condition. The four others that were injured were treated on board the carrier and three of them later released.

F-35C on USS Carl Vinson
A US Navy F-35C Lightning II operated by VFA-147 ‘Argonauts’ lands on the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) on December 1. An F-35C from VFA-147 crashed while landing on the carrier on January 24
US Navy/USS Carl Vinson

The US Navy has not provided any details regarding the status of the aircraft or how the mishap occurred. The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (CSG) was operating in the South China Sea at the time and carrying out joint training with the Abraham Lincoln CSG. Although the US Navy has not announced details of the squadron to which the aircraft was assigned, the only F-35C unit operating from the Carl Vinson as part of CVW-2 is Strike Fighter Squadron 147 (VFA-147) ‘Argonauts’ from Naval Air Station Lemoore, California.

US Naval Safety Center data reveals that this was the fifth Class A mishap on board the Carl Vinson in the space of the last ten weeks, although no injuries were reported in any of the previous accidents. A Class A accident involves damage of $2.5 million or more. A Navy Times report on January 13 has provided additional information on the basic reports of these incidents previously issued by the Naval Safety Center, which do not mention that the Vinson was the ship involved.

The first of these was on November 22, when the starboard engine of an F/A-18E Super Hornet caught fire in mid-air during a training flight over the Philippine Sea, although the aircraft returned safely to the carrier.

Only two days later, on November 24, the dipping sonar of an MH-60R Seahawk operating from the carrier unexpectedly detached from the cable used to lower it into the water during anti-submarine warfare training and the equipment was lost in the sea.

The third incident occurred on November 29, when an Airframe Mounted Accessory Drive (AMAD) pressure caution cockpit notification alerted the pilot of an F/A-18E Super Hornet of a problem with one of the engines. After executing single engine procedures, the pilot safely made an emergency landing back on the carrier.

The most recent mishap was on December 31, when a CMV-22B Osprey, which was stationary of the carrier’s flight deck, had a starboard engine fire. After carrying out appropriate ground emergency procedures, the aircraft was safely shut down.