Pilot killed in Navy jet fighter crash in Southern California desert

TRONA, Calif. A Navy fighter jet crashed Friday in the Southern California desert, killing the pilot, authorities said.

An F/A-18E Super Hornet based at Naval Air Station Lemoore went down at about 2:30 p.m. in the area of Trona, an unincorporated Mojave Desert community in San Bernardino County, the Navy announced in a statement.

The identity of the pilot will not be released until 24 hours after their family has been told, the navy added.

The aircraft was based at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California. An investigation is ongoing, the Navy said.

Trona is about 236 miles (380 kilometers) southeast of the air station, which is in the Central Valley.

Last October, a Navy Super Hornet from Naval Air Station China Lake also crashed, and in 2020 another from Lemoore went down, both during training missions. The pilots safely ejected, one in a remote southern area of Death Valley National Park near the Nevada border and the other in the Mojave Desert.

Lemoore is home to Commander Strike Fighter Wing Pacific and Commander Joint Strike Fighter Wing and hosts 16 operational Strike Fighter squadrons, according to its website.