[Updated] U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle From RAF Lakenheath Has Crashed Into The North Sea. Pilot Deceased.

File photo of an F-15C Eagle assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron launching for a sortie at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Dec. 18, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Madeline Herzog)

Massive SAR operation launched. Body of the pilot recovered.

On Jun. 15, 2020, at approximately 09.40LT, an F-15C belonging to the 493rd Fighter Squadron of the 48th Fighter Wing, based at RAF Lakenheath, UK, callsign “CHOSEN 4”, crashed into the North Sea.

The aircraft was part of 4-ship (c/s “CHOSEN 1-4”). Emergency comms were heard on 282.8 a known koint/combined on-the-scene voice and DF SAR frequency used throughout NATO.

A massive SAR (Search And Rescue) operation is underway: along with three KC-135 Stratotankers radio callsigns “QID256 – 257 – 258” refueling fighters that are circling the area, TASMAN71 (Dassault Falcon 20) and SAR helicopter (S92 G-MOGH as “RESCUE 912”) have also been dispatched to the rescue of the pilot flying the Eagle that crashed. A NATO E-3 AWACS (“NATO 06”) is also supporting the operation circling to the northeast of the crash site.

This below is the picture at the time of writing:

Multiple aircraft can be tracked online in the area of the F-15C crash. (Image credit: ADSBExchange).

The U.S. Air Force 493rd Fighter Squadron “Grim Reapers”, the only F-15C squadron in Europe and the squadron that flew the Eagle crashed today, is also the 2019 Raytheon Trophy as top Air Superiority Squadron.

The Raytheon Trophy is awarded annually to the top air-superiority and air-defense squadron in the Air Force. Nominees are graded on air-defense and air-superiority mission performance, operational mission performance, organizational readiness inspection results, training exercise participation, unit and individual achievements and flight safety.

Here’s the position of lifeboats from Scarborough & Bridlington on scene:

Several assets are continuing to look for the pilot hours after the crash:

Update Jun. 15, 2020, 17.20 GMT:

RAF Lakenheath has confirmed that the pilot was killed in the incident.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.