Hawk hunter

A MK-58 Hawker Hunter subsonic jet aircraft crashed near Point Mugu Naval Air Station in Southern California, US, killing the pilot.

Owned and operated by Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC), the aircraft went down in an agricultural field just east of Pacific Coast Highway in Port Hueneme.

The pilot was reportedly working under a contract with ATAC, and ejected from the aircraft but could not survive the crash. The collision did not lead to any casualties on the ground.

Naval Base Ventura County spokeswoman Kimberly Gearhart was quoted by KTLA 5 as saying that Hawker Hunter is a one-person jet that stimulates threats during training missions.

Gearhart said: "Basically, they fly the bad guy during training missions.

"This aircraft was returning home … was on its final approach to land and something went wrong."

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, with the latter serving as the lead agency.

"This aircraft was returning home and on its final approach to land and something went wrong."

ATAC initially refused to reveal the identity of the pilot, pending notification to kin. It was later revealed as being 45-year-old Charles Rogers from Utah, according to reports from CBS Los Angeles. It was claimed that Mr Rogers, who retired from the military, had experience with jet fighters.

The incident represents a second ATAC-owned Hawker Hunter incident in the area. A MK-58 Hawker Hunter crashed on approach to Point Mugu in May 2012, killing the on-board pilot.

Built by Hawker Siddeley, MK58 Hawker Hunter entered service with the UK Royal Air Force in July 1954 as a manoeuvrable fighter aircraft. It was later used in fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles in numerous conflicts.

The aircraft has been used by air forces in India, Lebanon, Sweden, Singapore and Switzerland.

Image: A Hawk Hunter aircraft lands at Kemble Airport, Gloucestershire, UK. Photo: courtesy of Arpingstone.

Defence Technology