An F-35C had a “landing mishap” on the deck of USS Carl Vinson in the South China Sea.
USNI News was first to report about an incident that forced an F-35C pilot to eject and injured 7 sailors on Jan. 24, 2022. The U.S. Navy later confirmed that an F-35C Lightning II, assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, had a landing mishap on deck while USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) was conducting routine flight operations in the South China Sea, on Jan. 24, 2022.
“An F-35C Lightning II, assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, had a landing mishap on deck while USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) was conducting routine flight operations in the South China Sea, Jan. 24, 2022. The pilot safely ejected from the aircraft and was recovered via U.S. military helicopter. The pilot is in stable condition. There were seven total Sailors injured; three Sailors required MEDEVAC to a medical treatment facility in Manila, Philippines, and four were treated by on-board medical personnel. All three MEDEVACs are assessed as stable. Of the four Sailors treated by on-board medical, three have been released. Additional details and the cause of the inflight mishap is under investigation,” says the official USN press release.
The root cause of the incident is under investigation; the naval service did not disclose additional details on the status of the aircraft.
Although the unit the F-35C belonged to was not disclosed, we know that the only squadron embarked aboard USS Carl Vinson and flying the F-35C, the Carrier Variant of the Lightning II 5th generation aircraft, are the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147. In fact, Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group is operating in the South China Sea along with the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group: 10 U.S. Navy F-35Cs with the “Argonauts” based at NAS (Naval Air Station) Lemoore are embarked aboard USS Carl Vinson while 10 U.S. Marine Corps F-35Cs belonging to the “Black Knights” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 (VMFA-314) from MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) Miramar, California, are embarked on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), on the first Marine F-35C squadron’s deployment aboard a carrier.
The landing mishap aboard USS Carl Vinson comes few weeks after a British F-35B crashed into the Mediterranean Sea after a failed take-off from Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. The pilot successfully ejected and the airframe was recovered from the bottom of the sea.