A U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet combat aircrfat crashed on final approach to Boca Chica Field, Naval Air Station, Key West, Florida at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT, March 14.
Search and rescue crews were notified shortly after the crash where they recovered both the pilot and weapons systems officer from the water approximately one mile east of the runway. Both were taken by ambulance to Lower Keys Medical Center.
The F/A-18F is a dual-seated aircraft assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron Two One Three (VFA-213) based at Naval Air Station Oceana and was conducting a training flight.
The cause of the mishap is currently under investigation.
Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
Boeing F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet are twin-engine carrier-capable multirole fighter aircraft variants based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet.
The F/A-18E single-seat and F/A-18F tandem-seat variants are larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C and D Hornet. The aircraft is operated by the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
The Super Hornet has an internal 20 mm M61 rotary cannon and can carry air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface weapons. Additional fuel can be carried in up to five external fuel tanks and the aircraft can be configured as an airborne tanker by adding an external air refueling system.
The U.S. Navy Hornets will start receiving service life modification (SLM) from April this year. Once the SLM programme is stable, Boeing will add Block III capabilities onto the modified aircraft around 2022.
Block III Super Hornet upgrades will include conformal fuel tanks, new Raytheon APG-63(V)3 AESA radar and Block IV integrated defensive electronic countermeasures system (IDECM).