Two RAAF pilots have ejected after their RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed at Base Amberley.
Footage from the scene appears to suggest the aircraft ran off the runway and is still in one piece, although has suffered damage to its forward starboard fuselage.
The Department of Defence has confirmed aircrew are safe but revealed the cause of the incident is not known. A full investigation will now commence.
7News reported that the jet was around 200 metres into its take-off run, and that eyewitnesses reported smoke billowing from the engine before the crew ejected.
“Defence can confirm that an incident involving an Air Force aircraft has occurred at RAAF Base Amberley,” the Defence Department said in a statement. “The aircrew of that aircraft are safe and no other personnel were involved in the incident.
“Defence’s first priority is the safety of personnel at RAAF Base Amberley.
“Defence will provide more information once the immediate actions associated with the incident are completed.
“The cause of the incident is not known at this time and will be subject to investigation.”
The RAAF Super Hornet was completed in 2009 and first flew from Boeing’s factory in St Louis, Missouri, on 21 July 2009.
The RAAF’s first five F/A-18Fs arrived at their home base, RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland, on 26 March 2010 and were joined by six more aircraft on 7 July 2010.
Following the arrival of another four aircraft in December 2010, the first RAAF F/A-18F squadron was declared operational that month.
The Royal Australian Air Force operates 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets, which ensure that Australia’s air combat capability edge is maintained until the full introduction of the F-35A Lightning II.
After achieving final operational capability in December 2012, they have participated in a range of exercises and operations, including:
- Exercise Pitch Black in the Northern Territory;
- Exercise Bersama Shield on the Malaysian Peninsula; and
- Operation Okra in the Middle East.
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