If a fighter jet falls from a carrier’s deck into the sea and is quickly recovered, would the jet be a write-off?

Mudassir Ali
Jan 22, 2020 09:00 AM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Jan 22, 2020 09:00 AM

Two stories:

First, I was in an S-3 squadron with an aircraft on the hangar deck undergoing 224 day inspection which necessitated the removal of a large number of panels to gain access to the various inspection points. Someone set off the hangar deck sprinklers which is supposed to be a combination of salt water and AFFF for fire suppression. Only the salt water went off but it thoroughly inundated the aircraft. The bird was moved to the flight deck and the troops started washing and rinsing the aircraft with soap and fresh water.

The following day we moved the aircraft back to the hangar deck to remove some additional panels for a deeper inspection for water infiltration. In the meantime ship’s company was troubleshooting the AFFF system to determine why only the salt water activated.

You guessed it. This time they set off the salt water and AFFF on the aircraft. AFFF makes the salt water less viscous so it penetrates deeper. Back to the flight deck for more fresh water wash. Concurrently we sent a message to the chain of command outlining the panels open, stating it might be beyond our capability and requesting assistance. The response was fly the plane into Rota, open it up and wash it for three days in various flight control configurations.

The aircraft was inspected every six months for corrosion and managed to pass but it developed some unique discrepancies in the various systems which were unique to that particular S-3.

Second, an H-3 water landed near the carrier. Before the carrier arrived it rolled inverted. Using the carrier’s B & A (Boats and Aircraft) crane the helo was rolled over and slowly lifted to the elevator so the salt water could drain. The squadron pulled all the removable parts and the ship’s AIMD inducted them for emergency reclamation. This involved washing the sealed instruments in fresh water and soap, then drying. In the case of electronic boxes, it meant pulling all the circuit cards and washing the box, and circuit cards in fresh water and soap. In the meantime the squadron repeatedly washed the helo. Everything was shipped back to the depot, including the helo and eventually, it flew again.

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