Two Marine Hornets Collide at Twentynine Palms; No Injuries Reported

Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 232, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing fly F/A-18C Hornet airplanes to participate in a deployment for training (DFT) on Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., May 10, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps photo/Gregory Moore)
Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 232, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing fly F/A-18C Hornet airplanes to participate in a deployment for training (DFT) on Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., May 10, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps photo/Gregory Moore)

The Marine Corps is investigating what led a pair of F/A-18C Hornet fighters to collide over a California training base last week, resulting in at least $2 million in damages to the aircraft.

The two Hornets were conducting close-air support training when they collided in midair at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms on Thursday. Both aircraft landed safely, and no injuries were reported, according to a report from the Naval Safety Center.

The incident remains under investigation, said 1st Lt. Fredrick Walker, a spokesman for 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. It was first reported by Marine Corps Times.

Walker declined to address several questions from Military.com, including what time of day the incident occurred, how high the aircraft were flying at the time, and the squadron to which they're assigned.

"It would be inappropriate for me to comment further on an ongoing investigation," he said.

It's not immediately clear what parts of the aircraft made impact or how extensive the damage to each was. The Naval Safety Center has classified it as a Class A mishap, meaning there was $2 million or more in damage.

This was at least the third Class A aviation mishap for the Marine Corps since the fiscal year began in October. In December, the landing gear on a CH-53E Super Stallion retracted during a ground taxi.

That same month, an F/A-18D Hornet and KC-130J Hercules collided during an aerial-refueling mission above the Philippine Sea. Six Marines were killed in that accident and one injured.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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