A US F/A-18 Hornet has crashed earlier today in Japan. Rescue efforts to recover the pilot would be underway. This would be the 9th major incident involving a “Legacy Hornet” (including the Canadian CF-18 lost on Nov. 28, 2016) in the last 6 months.
The rate of crashes involving legacy Hornets is alarming.
Two U.S. Marine Corps F-18 Hornets from MCAS Miramar crashed on Nov. 9 near San Diego. Another one on Oct. 25. A Swiss Air Force Hornet was lost on Aug. 29, whereas a Navy F/A-18C crashed on Aug. 2. On Jul. 27 USMC F/A-18 crashed so as the Blue Angels Hornet that crashed on Jun. 2.
The U.S. Marine Corps temporarily grounded its non-deployed Hornets. A few days after the ban was lifted, two more F/A-18Cs were lost on Nov. 9.
The U.S: Marine Corps has launched a plan that will see Boeing upgrade 30 retired legacy Hornets (currently stored at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona) to a standard dubbed F/A-18C+.
With this upgrade, that will also embed new avionics, the service will be able to keep up with its operational tasks until the F-35 is able to take over.
Once upgraded to the C+ standard, these “gap fillers” should be more than enough to conduct combat operations in low-lethality scenarios like those that see the USMC at work these days.
Furthermore, once these “refreshed” Hornets are delivered to the squadrons, older airframes can be retired, improving flight safety.”