At least 10 US Navy helicopters were badly ᴅᴀмᴀԍᴇᴅ, four of which were overturned by the wind, during a thunderstorm in Virginia.
The US Navy said on July 27 that a thunderstorm in Virginia a day earlier ᴅᴀмᴀԍᴇᴅ 10 helicopters at Naval Air Station Norfolk, including 5 MH-60S Knight Hawks, one MH-60R Sea Hawk and four MH-53E Sea Dragon мιиєsweeping helicopters.
Preliminary assessment of the US Navy showed that all 10 helicopters experienced Class A incidents, ie incidents causing ᴅᴀмᴀԍᴇ of more than $ 2.5 million or casualties. US officials did not disclose the specific selling price of each aircraft, but MH-60S and MH-53E each have an estimated price of $ 35-50 million.
“We are continuing to assess the ᴅᴀмᴀԍᴇ to each aircraft, but this incident does not affect the combat force. Identified ᴅᴀмᴀԍᴇs include broken propeller and tail, fused fuselage structure and perforation. No service members were injured in the storm,” said Lt Col. Rob Myers, a spokesman for the US Navy’s Naval Air Forces Atlantic.
A thunderstorm occurred on the afternoon of July 26 with a warning of winds of up to 100 km/h. Strong winds swept through the airport at 3:42 p.m., about 12 minutes after the first warning and right at the time ground technicians were changing shifts. This seems to be the reason why soldiers at Norfolk base did not have time to evacuate the plane to a safe place.
The MH-53E Sea Dragon is a мιиєsweeping helicopter, developed from the CH-53E Super Stallion heavy transport helicopter platform. Each has an empty weight of 15 tons and a maximum take-off mass of nearly 32 tons.