A Navy early-warning plane was damaged after hitting a fighter jet while landing on an aircraft carrier

  • A Navy E-2C Hawkeye early-warning plane struck the tail fin of a missile on a parked F/A-18 fighter jet when the Hawkeye landed on the aircraft carrier Nimitz.
  • No one was injured, but the Navy hasn't said whether the accident has sidelined the aircraft.
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Two Navy aircraft were damaged when one of the planes struck the other while attempting to land on an aircraft carrier in the North Arabian Sea.

An E-2C Hawkeye with Carrier Air Wing 17 "made partial contact" with an F/A-18F Super Hornet parked on the flight deck of the carrier Nimitz on August 24, said Lt. Cmdr. Liza Dougherty, a spokeswoman for Carrier Strike Group 11.

No personnel were injured in the mishap, she added, which happened at about 4:30 p.m. local time.

The Naval Safety Center reported that the Hawkeye "struck the tail fin of a CATM-9X missile on a parked F/A-18F during a hook skip bolter."

When asked whether striking the missile's tailfin posed a risk to the Nimitz crew, Dougherty said that deployed aircraft carriers' flight decks are inherently dangerous work environments.

"[That's] why we continually engage in rigorous training and safety procedures as part of our mission readiness," she said. "The safety of our personnel is a top priority."

There were five crew members in the Hawkeye, Dougherty added. No one was in the Super Hornet. The incident is under investigation.

Dougherty did not address questions about whether the aircraft were sidelined by the mishap, saying only that the airwing and carrier remain "fully mission capable and ready to answer the nation's call."

It was the second mishap on the Nimitz in two weeks. On Sunday, Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Ian McKnight was reported missing, kicking off a three-day search in the North Arabian Sea.

The Navy announced Tuesday that the search-and-rescue efforts had been called off, though McKnight is still listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown.

The incident was also the second involving a Navy E-2C Hawkeye in recent weeks. On August 31, a Hawkeye crew bailed from their aircraft before it crashed in Virginia during a training flight.

All four crew members in that aircraft were safe. That incident also remains under investigation.

The Nimitz, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 11, has been operating in the Middle East since July. The strike group deployed in June.

— Gina Harkins can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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