Two Marine F/A-18s collide midair over Twentynine Palms, California

Two F/A-18s collided in midair over the sprawling Twentynine Palms, California, Marine training base on Feb. 28, according to military officials.

The two Hornets involved in the accident are from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

They both managed to land safely after “experiencing a mid-air incident” over Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, 1st Lt. Fredrick D. Walker, a spokesman for 3rd MAW, told Marine Corps Times. “No personnel were injured.”

A military safety brief noted that the accident occurred while the aircraft were conducting close-air support training. The Corps provided few details of the incident, and the extent of the damage to the two aircraft is unknown.

But the accident was listed as a Class A mishap, which is defined by the Navy as an accident where an aircraft is destroyed or sustains $2 million or more in damages.

It’s the second major aviation mishap for the Corps since the start of 2019.

On Jan. 5, an AV-8B Harrier embarked aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship Kearsarge with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, or MEU, was damaged after it ingested a refueling ground strap.

The incident happened while the aircraft was on the flight deck undergoing routine maintenance. The MEU was operating in the Mediterranean Sea at the time of the accident.

No one was injured, but the Corps had previously listed that incident as a Class A mishap on a military safety brief. It has since been removed from that list.

Military Times reported that the Defense Department is considering new ground rules for determining what defines a major aviation mishap and costs figures associated with those accidents.

According to Military Times, the DoD says the new rules are aimed at better reflecting the costs of repairing new high-tech aircraft.

The recent midair collision was reminiscent of the tragic and deadly collision of a KC-130 and F/A-18 off the coast of Japan in early December 2018. Six Marines perished in the crash, leaving only one survivor ― a crew member of the crashed F/A-18.

The midair incident over Twentynine Palms, California, is currently under investigation.

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