Skip to comments.PHOENIX RECOVERS U.S. AIR FORCE F-16 [From July 22 ejection in the Pacific]
Posted on 01/12/2013 9:13:29 AM PST by Excuse_My_Bellicosity
For Immediate Release January 3, 2013
Washington, DC Phoenix International Holdings, Inc. (Phoenix) announces the successful underwater search and recovery of a U.S. Air Force F-16 aircraft from over 16,400 feet of sea water (fsw). In early August 2012, at the direction of the Naval Sea Systems Commands Director of Ocean Engineering, Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV), Phoenix mobilized the Navys ORION deepwater side scan sonar system, the CURV 21 remotely operated vehicle (ROV), and the Navys motion compensated, 30,000 pound Fly-Away Deep Ocean Salvage System (FADOSS). All equipment was transported over land from Phoenixs facility in Largo, Maryland to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. From there, military transport aircraft moved the equipment to Hawaii, where the gear was loaded aboard USNS Navajo (T-ATF 169).
After a ten day transit to the crash site, underwater search operations commenced using the Navys 20,000 fsw depth search system, ORION. After searching the initial planned search area spanning a 2 x 4 nautical mile (nm) area, search operations shifted to another high-probability area and the suspected F-16 debris field was quickly identified. Next, Phoenix personnel deployed the CURV 21 deepwater ROV system and conducted a detailed video survey of the area in which several high priority items, including the Flight Data Recorder and engine, were identified. Over the next 10 days, the Phoenix team piloted the CURV 21 ROV through 12 dives and recovered all critical items desired by the embarked accident investigating board. Throughout the operation, Phoenix search and recovery personnel worked tirelessly to overcome a number of significant challenges, including extreme water depths, and adverse weather conditions to include erratic high winds, large waves, and strong currents to successfully complete this operation.
Phoenix provides manned and unmanned underwater operations, design engineering, and project management services to a diverse set of clients worldwide. Expertise is available from six regional offices in the areas of wet and dry hyperbaric welding, conventional and atmospheric diving, Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, Remotely Operated Vehicles, and other robotic systems and tooling. Our capabilities are directed to underwater inspection, maintenance, and repair; deep ocean search & recovery; submarine rescue; construction; subsea tieback; plug & abandonment; subsea mining; and archaeological and documentary projects.
For further information please contact Pete LeHardy (firstname.lastname@example.org) Tel: 301.341.7800; or view our web site: www.phnx-international.com.
“The safe recovery of the pilot from the Pacific Ocean after spending 6 hours in his survival raft”
That is great.
Very impressive! Makes one proud.
I remember the event, and how all the ships responded to the distress call. The one unanswered question: is it normal SOP for an F-16 to transit the Pacific solo..without a wingman?
Only when those Air Force pilots get delusions of grandeur and think that they are Naval Aviators.
Or was it a Dizzy Dean (It ain't braggin' if you can do.) moment for the Navy's ego?
Yeah, someone deemed it necessary to spend that kind of money to recover it. The avionics, radar system and ECM suite are probably highly sought after by the Chinese right now. Even friendly, and ally countries would love to get their hands on it.
Engine no longer sought by China, as Israel gave them 7 a month ago.
What did this aircraft have on it that was worth spending $10 million to recover?
“...underwater search and recovery of a U.S. Air Force F-16 aircraft from over 16,400 feet of sea water...”
That can’t be a cheap project. How much would it cost just to build a new one from other decommissioned units? Wouldn’t the deepwater pressure do some damage? Just wondering.
There’s only one reason to go to this much trouble to recover a lone F-16 from the middle of the Pacific Ocean - Broken Arrow.
Solo flight with a nuke is NOT allowed. Ever.
And nukes, if they are being transferred, are to be shipped internally on a lifter, not strapped to an external hard-point.
As someone else said, nuclear is unlikely.
However, it might have been carrying an ASAT or cold (non-nuclear) EMP bomb. Either one can be carried solo and we really don’t want our enemies (or even allies) getting their hands on one.
True enough that those are the rules, but six warheads were inadvertantly strapped under the wings of a B-52 and flown solo from Minot to Barksdale in 2007 due to criminal neglect.
True enough. But that was back then. Not today. Not with the rules we have today.
And many people were hung over that one. . .from the crew chiefs, weaponeers, the aircrew, the wing’s leadership and up to the commands CINC. In GSC, we now have in place “old” SAC procedures to ensure it cannot happen again.
Therefore, a single F-16, single-engine, single pilot, would not have been configured with a nuke, and I believe the wing does not have a nuke mission anyway, therefore, the “silver bullet” would not have been available.
An intel package that only a stateside operation is allowed to handle.