A $75 million Air Force jet has hit the runway during an aborted take-off at the Amberley RAAF Base outside Brisbane.
Witnesses have told the ABC they saw pilots eject from a F/A-18F Super Hornet as it was about to take off from RAAF Base Amberley.
Photos from the scene suggest the Super Hornet has suffered some damage to its forward starboard fuselage.
Analysis of photos suggests the plane has a collapsed nosewheel, or the nosewheel is in a drain.
A Defence Department spokesperson said the aircrew of the aircraft were safe and no other personnel were involved in the incident.
“Defence will provide more information once the immediate actions associated with the incident are completed.
“The cause of the incident is not known at this time and will be subject to investigation.”
The plan was taking off from south to north.
Plane only a decade old
Australia has 24 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets, based out of Amberley approximately 20 kilometres west of Brisbane.
They entered operation in December 2012 and have participated in a range of exercises and operations including Operation OKRA in the Middle East.
Defence says the Super Hornets “ensure that Australia’s air combat capability edge is maintained until the full introduction of the F-35A Lightning II”.
Australia is due to accept another 15 F-35s in 2021, as part of a $17 billion deal to eventually acquire 72 of the newer jets.
But the F-35 program has been beset by delays exacerbated by the pandemic.