On Tuesday October 17th at approximately 1100 local time a Ejército del Aire (Spanish Air Force) McDonnell Douglas EF-18A Hornet (C.15 in Spanish service) crashed immediately after takeoff from the military airbase at Torrejon near Madrid in Spain. The pilot, identified as 26 year-old Lieutenant Fernando Perez Serrano of Murcia in southeastern Spain, perished in the crash. The cause of the mishap is under investigation by Spanish authorities. This is the second very recent Ejército del Aire mishap resulting in the death of a pilot. A Eurofighter EF2000 Typhoon crashed near Albacete just five days ago.
Spain took delivery of 60 EF-18A of C.15 (single seat) and 12 EF-18B or CE.15 (two seat) Hornets beginning in 1985. Deliveries were complete by July of 1990. These first Hornets were later upgraded to F/A-18A+ and F/A-18B+ specifications, which essentially include the same computers, data buses, and data storage technology as those found in the F/A-18C and F/A-18D Hornets flown by the US Navy and Marine Corps as well as the ability to employ the AN/AAS-38B NITE Hawk targeting and FLIR pods.
In the first sale of surplus US Navy F/A-18 Hornets to a foreign nation, Spain obtained 24 more former US Navy F/A-18A Hornets and options for an additional six airframes during 1995. These aircraft were brought up to F/A-18A+ standard prior to delivery, which occurred between December of 1995 and December of 1998. There has as yet been no confirmation from the Ejército del Aire about the exact model (C.15 or CE.15) of the jet involved in the mishap. Avgeekery.com will update this story as events warrant.