ABOARD THE USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT — A jet fighter had to land at an airstrip Thursday after a faulty bomb release system prevented it from landing on this carrier, the ship’s spokesman said.
The F/A-18, returning from a mission over Afghanistan, was carrying too much weight in bombs and fuel, said ship spokesman Lt. John Oliveira.
Control officers had ordered the pilot to jettison a 500-pound Mark 82 bomb into the sea to shed weight, but the release mechanism malfunctioned.
Capt. Rich O’Hanlon, the ship’s commanding officer, ordered the plane to divert from its scheduled landing when it was within 30 miles of the carrier at about 9 p.m.
"If it landed on the deck, it could have jarred the bomb loose," Oliveira said.
The jet landed safely at an airstrip used by U.S. military aircraft in the region — either Fujairah, Oman, or Jacobabad, Pakistan, said Oliveira. For security reasons he would not specify which.
The Theodore Roosevelt has been at sea for 106 days since setting sail for the Arabian Gulf about one week after the Sept. 11 terror attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.
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