When an E-2D Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft was attempting to land on the Lincoln on August 9, it missed the arresting wire used to stop the plane on the flight deck in a situation known in naval parlance as a “bolter,” the Navy Times reported. Forced to blast off the front of the ship and come around for another landing attempt, the Hawkeye struck several other airplanes on the deck along the way.
The plane, known for its turboprop engines and big radome on top, only “made slight contact” with two Hornets sitting on the deck, US 5th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Joshua Frey said in a statement, but debris from the impact damaged two others sitting nearby.
"The landing aircraft was diverted and arrived safely at the divert location. No personnel were injured," he said. “All aircraft involved are currently being repaired in order to return the aircraft to mission readiness.”
However, the incident was classified as a Class A mishap, which involves either multiple fatalities, damage totaling $2 million or more, or the complete loss of an aircraft, Military.com noted. The Navy Times noted this was the eighth Class A mishap the Navy had suffered since October 1.
Just days later, two more Super Hornets were damaged when the Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration team was rehearsing for an air show in Chicago. The two jets made momentary mid-air contact on August 14 while performing the complex “Diamond 360” maneuver, during which four aircraft fly in a tight diamond formation just inches from each other. No one was injured in the incident, but one Hornet left a big scratch on the other’s canopy.
A more serious incident in 2016 saw another E-2 attempting to land on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower nearly plunge into the sea after the arresting cable snapped. Eight sailors were injured and required medical evacuations, the Navy Times reported.
According to 2017 US Department of Defense data, an F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet costs $70.5 million.