Catastrophic failure of the right engine caused an F-15E Strike Eagle to crash May 3, 2012, according to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report released today. The aircraft crashed south of the host nation air base in Southwest Asia.
The mishap aircraft and air crew are forward deployed with the 391st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing. When the accident occurred, the mishap crew MCwas conducting a routine training sortie simulating enemy fighter tactics against friendly forces.
According to the investigation, the cause of the engine failure was a rare ignition of the titanium components within the engine, resulting in an extremely destructive fire. The fire led to associated failure of other critical hydraulic and electrical systems. The loss of the right engine and critical systems made the aircraft uncontrollable, resulting in the crash.
With the mishap aircraft at the prescribed bailout altitude and fire continuing to burn in the right engine compartment, the mishap pilot used hand signals to command bailout. The mishap crew safely ejected from the aircraft without injury and was quickly recovered by host nation search and rescue forces. Seconds after the crew ejected, the aircraft crashed in an unpopulated area and was destroyed upon impact. The loss is valued at approximately$45.5 million.