US Navy T-45Cs involved in mid-air collision

Two US Navy-operated McDonnell Douglas T-45C Goshawk land-/carrier-based jet trainers were involved in a mid-air collision over Texas on May 17.

The two aircraft – serials unknown – were assigned to Training Squadron 22 (VT-22) ‘Golden Eagles’ at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville in Texas, which falls under the umbrella of the US Navy’s Training Air Wing 2. The incident occurred at 1100hrs (Central Time) over Ricardo, Texas – located approximately nine miles south of NAS Kingsville.

T-45C Goshawk [US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Drew Verbis]
A US Navy-operated McDonnell Douglas T-45C Goshawk - assigned to Training Air Wing 2 - taxis out in preparation for a training sortie from NAS Kingsville, Texas, on April 25, 2021. Two of the unit’s Goshawks were involved in a mid-air collision on May 17, following which one crashed but the other recovered safely. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Drew Verbis

One aircraft was able to land safely back at the nearby naval base, while the other aircraft crashed following the collision. The instructor and student pilot aboard the stricken Goshawk were able to safely eject from the jet trainer before it crashed. One of the two pilots suffered minor injuries during the event and was subsequently taken to CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Kleberg in Kingsville. The US Navy has confirmed that the incident is now under investigation.

The McDonnell Douglas T-45C Goshawk entered operational service with the US Navy in December 1997. AirForces Intelligence data states that the air arm presently maintains a fleet of 192 examples of the land-/carrier-based jet trainer, which is a highly modified variant of British Aerospace (BAe) Hawk family.

This incident marks the second case of attrition to strike the US Navy’s T-45C fleet this year. The first came on March 24, when an aircraft – BuNo 167100 – crashed during a training flight near the Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Orange Grove, Texas. This aircraft also belonged to VT-22. In this case, both pilots egressed from the platform safely, but the aircraft itself was damaged beyond repair and written-off as a result of the incident.