Hawker Hunter Private Aggressor Jet Has Gone Down Off Oahu, Hawaii (Updated)
The pilot ejected safely at very low altitude as his jet careened into the water off the end of the runway.
Details are few in number, but what we know is that there is a search and rescue operation underway off Oahu after a military aircraft supposedly crashed into waters near the island. The operation has resulted in a complete halt of all departing flights out of Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, which would indicate the aircraft crashed close to the airfield.
Daniel K. Inouye International Airport is co-located with Hickam Air Force Base, which is a major hub for military aircraft movements in the Pacific. It's also home to the 15th Wing which includes a variety of aircraft including F-22As, C-17s, KC-135s, C-40s, and C-37s.
There has been an unpublicized large air warfare exercise going on over the waters off Hawaii in recent days. Air National Guard F-15s from Oregon and F/A-18s from Navy test squadrons VX-9 and VX-31 are supposedly taking part in the drills. A major missile defense test also just occurred off Hawaii, which included the usual Missile Defense Agency Gulfstream jets and other airborne assets that help document the test and clear the range area of aircraft and vessels. It's not clear at this time if these events have any relation to the mishap in question.
This also comes as The War Zone has been told by two sources that a separate aviation accident occurred on Wake Island very recently. We have tried to get a confirmation of this event from U.S. Pacific Command, but have not gotten a response as of yet.
We will keep this post updated as more information comes available.
UPDATE: 5:42pm PST—
The aircraft involved was a Mk58 Hawker Hunter from the Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC). The pilot is reported to have survived, thankfully, but is in serious condition.
A handful of the vintage electronic warfare pod packing jets operate from Hawaii year-round, acting as contracted aggressor targets during exercises and more mundane training like replicating anti-ship missile attack profiles on warships. You can read all about these aircraft and what they do in this magazine feature I wrote about them years ago.
Check out this crazy footage of the crash:
UPDATE: 6:15pm PST—
Check this image out:
I don't know the performance envelope on that seat, but I can't imagine it was too from its the bottom of it.
UPDATE: 7:35pm PST—
Good news! The pilot is in stable condition and here is some video of him being rescued:
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com