USMC reveals details of F-15E pilot rescue

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The US Marine Corps has revealed how it rescued one of the crew members of a US Air Force Boeing F-15E within 90min of crashing in Libya on 21 March, after launching an operation with six aircraft.

Dubbed a 'tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel' mission, the action saw two Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotors (one pictured below), two Sikorsky CH-53E support helicopters carrying quick reaction force personnel, and two Boeing AV-8B Harrier II strike aircraft launched from the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge.

 
© US Marine Corps

The first of the rescue package was launched within 30min of the crash, while their vessel was around 130nm (240km) away from the accident scene. On arrival, the Harriers dropped two of their 225kg (500lb) laser-guided bombs, before one of the MV-22s landed to extract the pilot.

The entire rescue mission totalled around 90min, from aircraft launch to recovery aboard the USS Kearsarge, the USMC says.

Flying from Aviano air base in Italy, the F-15E was involved in supporting the US-led Operation "Odyssey Dawn" against the regime of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi. The USAF says the crew ejected after the aircraft "experienced equipment malfunction". Both were rescued after coming down in eastern Libya.