on Mar. 22, 2021, An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the “Gladiators” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106, suffered a bird strike during a training mission out of Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro, California.
According to the U.S. Navy, neither the pilot nor the RIO aboard the two-seater jet were injured following the mishap, said Lt. Cmdr. Robert Myers, the Naval Air Force Atlantic spokesperson.
The F/A-18 was conducting a low flight near Naval Air Facility El Centro, California, according to a Naval Safety Center report.
The aircraft managed to land back at El Centro but the post-flight inspection highlighted serious damages to both the air intake and engine.
As a consequence, the mishap has been labeled a Class A damage, the most severe one, that is to say, damage of at least 2.5M USD or the total loss of an aircraft.
This is a preliminary classification as the investigation will determine the root cause of the incident and assess the exact level of damage the airframe and engines sustained.
“We are viewing this as a Class ‘A’ mishap, however, an investigation will determine both the cause of the incident and the level of damage sustained,” Myers said in an email Wednesday.
Strike Fighter Squadron 106 (VFA-106) is the Navy’s East Coast Fleet Replacement Squadron, which trains naval aviators to fly the F/A-18E/C Super Hornet.
The Gladiators are also one of the squadrons that made up the US Navy’s Tac Demo Teams, together with the Flying Eagles of VFA-122 out of NAS Leemore, California.