The incident occurred after the jet suffered an “in-flight malfunction.”
Pictures have emerged on Instagram of an accident over the weekend at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland involving an F-15C Eagle from the Oregon Air National Guard’s 142nd Fighter Wing. The fighter skidded off the runway and lost its radome after making an emergency landing. The pilot did not suffer any injuries, thankfully.
Instagram user dope767driver posted the set of four images online on May 3, 2020. The Joint Base Andrews Public Affairs Office confirmed the mishap to The War Zone and said that it had taken place on May 2 at around 1:30 PM local time. There were no major impacts on the base’s operations as a result.
The pictures show that, in addition to the nose radome getting sheared away, the F-15C’s landing gear collapsed and the drop tank under the aircraft’s right wing got crushed. The jet’s radar antenna, likely an active electronically-scanned array for the AN/APG-63(V)3, is also missing.
Although we cannot confirm it, the F-15C was supposedly armed at the time of the mishap and missiles on its wing stations were removed afterward. It’s not clear what happened to any AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles it might have been carrying on its belly stations when it departed the runway. Last year, another Eagle from the 142nd fired or otherwise jettisoned all of its missiles, worth millions of dollars, into the Pacific Ocean before making an emergency landing at Portland International Airport.
The statement from Andrews’ Public Affairs Office said that the F-15C had diverted to the base after experiencing an unspecified “in-flight malfunction.” “Welp, this is what a failure of the utility hydraulic system looks like. NO BRAKES! NO STEERING!,” dope767driver had written on Instagram. He also noted to one commenter that “the pilot missed the barrier. When he touched down, the RMLG collapsed. It was configured for CAP.” CAP stands for combat air patrol. The jet is said to be on a temporary air defense assignment from its home in Portland, Oregon to Savannah, Georgia’s Savannah Air National Guard Base.
There’s no word yet on the total cost of the damage, but it is likely to be significant. With the F-15C/D’s service now set to end in the next decade, it will be interesting to see if the jet will be repaired or written off. An investigation into the mishap is now underway.
We will update this story with more information as it becomes available.