Wednesday, March 23, 2011
US Bombs F-15 wreckage...was it a Silent Eagle?
US fighter planes returned to bomb the crash site of the F-15E Strike Eagle that crash-landed Monday night outside the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi, a senior US defense official confirmed Wednesday to FOX News Channel.
Tuesday night's mission was to ensure that none of the sensitive avionics or parts ended up in enemy hands. It was carried out after dark to diminish the chances of civilian casualties, the source said.
The jet, normally stationed at a Royal Air Force base in Lakenheath, eastern England, took off from an Italian air base late Monday. The two men bailed out at approximately 11:30pm local time after encountering "equipment malfunction" over Libya. The pair ejected in separate locations before being safely rescued by American forces. Military officials said there was no suggestion that the aircraft was downed by enemy fire.
"One crew member was recovered by coalition forces," said Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of US Naval Forces Europe and Africa. "The other crew member was recovered by the people of Libya. He was treated with dignity and respect and is now in the care of the United States."
The military refused to be drawn on reports that several Libyan villagers were fired upon as a helicopter rescued one of the airmen. Pressed for details, Locklear would neither confirm nor deny that shots were fired.
BLOGGERS NOTE: Speculation to follow: I can't help but wonder if the F-15 that crashed was a new SILENT EAGLE F-15 variant equipped with a stealth retrofit?
This might explain the overall melted look of the skin of the fighter (burned RAM?)and fibers from the split tail indicating it is made of composite materials.
It is interesting to note although the media and and local Libyans have been crawling all over the crash site (in a rebel controlled area) the USAF chose to bomb the remains rather than visit the site to look for clues into why it crashed.
On closer observation - the twin tails do not look as canted as they do on published photos of a Silent Eagle - but it's really difficult to tell just how they were originally canted on an aircraft that smacked into the Libyan desert.
YouTube videos of a Silent eagle internal missile storage test show hardly any cant at all.
What is needed is a detailed analysis by someone (maybe an Eaglekeeper)to see if anything looks out of the ordinary on this downed bird.
UPDATE: Mystery surrounds F-15 crew
Washington (CNN) -- After the rescue of a pilot and the weapons systems officer in Operation Odyssey Dawn, the military is keeping the names of the two crew members under wraps.
The initial press release about the crash of a U.S. Air Force F-15 in eastern Libya said both members of the air crew ejected from the jet before it crashed. Later reports said they suffered minor injuries in the ejection.
The press release also made clear that "the identities will be released after the next of kin have been notified."
But after repeated requests from CNN for details about their identities and whereabouts, Maj. Beverly Mock, a spokesperson for the Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, wrote in an email: "We will not release the names of the aircrew. I realize initially it was said they would be released but because they are being reintegrated and will return to their unit we will not release their names for their safety and privacy."
As for their whereabouts, the U.S. Marine Corps reported the pilot was brought aboard the USS Kearsarge and that he was in the medical facility on the ship.
CNN has learned from military officials that the weapons specialist was brought to Europe, although nobody would say where.
Press officers were less helpful. Mock wrote: "We don't have information on where the aircrew are."
Posted by Steve Douglass at 8:44 AM