A mid-flight refueling accident off the Virginia coast damaged a Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet strike fighter last week, officials told Navy Times.

The Dec. 16 incident involved two Super Hornets with Virginia-based Strike Fighter Squadron 106, according to Naval Air Forces spokesman Cmdr. Ronald Flanders.

A F/A-18E was aerially refueling its F-variant counterpart in the Virginia Capes Operating Area when a “basket slap” occurred, sending foreign object debris into both engines of the receiving jet, he said.

A basket is an attachment to the refueling probe that is used for mid-flight refueling.

A basket slap involves the refueling probe smacking into the receiving jet.

Both aircraft returned to base, no injuries were reported and the cause and extent of the damages remain under investigation, Flanders said.

Navy officials initially labeled the incident as a “Class A” mishap, which involves accidents causing at least $2.5 million in damages.

It’s the third Class A aviation mishap since the new federal fiscal year began on Oct. 1.

A Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk drone was damaged Nov. 26 when debris struck its port side while taking off for a mission in the Middle East.

A Navy doomsday plane also sucked a bird into one of its four engines during a touch and go landing Oct. 2

The damaged engine for the E-6B Mercury, assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20 at Maryland’s Naval Air Station Patuxent River, has since been replaced, officials said.

Geoff is the editor of Navy Times, but he still loves writing stories. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at geoffz@militarytimes.com.

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