US Navy recovers jet blown off aircraft carrier from Mediterranean

A US Navy team has recovered a military jet that ‘blew off’ an aircraft carrier and sunk to approximately 9,500 feet.

The F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft was blown off the flight deck of aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in July, after ‘unexpected heavy weather’ in the Mediterranean Sea. The carrier was conducting a replenishment-at-sea.

The aircraft was eventually recovered on 03 August by a team from Task Force 68, Naval Sea Systems Command’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving, Harry S. Truman, Naval Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic, and U.S. Sixth Fleet embarked on the multi-purpose construction vessel, Everest.

“Inherent to Task Force 68 is our ability to adapt to any mission set – we can rapidly mobilise and deploy scalable command, control, and communications, in order to seamlessly integrate and provide forward command and control when and where needed,” says CTF 68 commodore, captain Geoffrey Townsend.

The F/A-18E Super Hornet. Image courtesy of Kevin T. Murray Jr

The aircraft was recovered using a remotely operated vehicle to attach specialised rigging and lift lines to the aircraft. A lifting hook was attached to the rigging to raise the aircraft to the surface and hoist it aboard Everest.

“The rapid response of the combined team, including SUPSALV and Phoenix International personnel, allowed us to conduct safe recovery operations within 27 days of the incident,” says Lieutenant Commander Miguel Lewis, U.S. Sixth Fleet salvage officer. 

“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.”

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