A fire suppression system was inadvertently activated at a Boeing facility in Florida earlier this month, dousing five F/A-18C Hornets in retardant foam, potentially causing more than $1 million in damage, according to company and Navy officials.
No one was injured in the Nov. 2 incident, according to Boeing spokeswoman Jessica Carlton.
Although the Naval Safety Center classified the dousing as a so-called “Class A” mishap because the initial damage estimate could surpass $1 million, the severity could be downgraded.
The jets were undergoing maintenance and modifications at a Boeing hangar at Cecil Air Field, Carlton said.
“Jets are being washed and cleaned per standard Navy protocol,” Carlton said in an email. “Once that’s complete, we’ll work with (the Defense Contract Management Agency) and the Navy to continue the modification and maintenance work.”
Boeing is partnering with the DCMA and the Navy to determine the cause of the fire suppression system activation and how it will impact aircraft, she said.
The Navy’'s F/A-18C Hornets conducted their last combat deployment aboard the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson eight months ago. They’ll now be used by reserve units and for aviator training, officials have said.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.