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Bird strike grounds US Navy ‘doomsday’ plane

Bird strike grounds US Navy ‘doomsday’ plane

A rogue bird caused over $2 million in damages, when it was sucked into an engine of a US Navy E-6B Mercury plane, known as Navy ‘Doomsday’ aircraft, during a test flight, knocking the plane out of commission.

The aircraft, designed to serve as an emergency command and control center in the event of a nuclear war, connecting the US’ “nuclear triad” of submarines, Air Force bombers, and ICBMs with the president and the Pentagon chief, was grounded after an unidentified species of bird was sucked into one of its four engines during a test flight at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

The plane was conducting a touch-and-go landing when the “Class A” accident occurred, causing over $2 million in damages and requiring the replacement of the entire engine. The bird was the only casualty.

According to US Navy, the stricken craft has been repaired and returned to service. It is the second E-6B Mercury to meet with expensive misfortune this year; another of the $141 million aircraft was damaged while being towed out of a hangar at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma in February.
Bird strikes is a frequent problem in Aviation.