The aircraft, an F/A-18C Hornet, was about 10 miles southeast of Fallon, Nevada and returning to base when the jet crashed around 10:45 am local time.
The pilot is understood to be safe and is being treated at a local hospital after ejecting.
The F/A-18C is a single-seat variant of the Hornet. The F/A-18C and D models are the result of a block upgrade in 1987 incorporating upgraded radar, avionics, and the capacity to carry new missiles such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile and AGM-65 Maverick and AGM-84 Harpoon air-to-surface missiles.
Other upgrades include the Martin-Baker NACES (Navy Aircrew Common Ejection Seat), and a self-protection jammer. A synthetic aperture ground mapping radar enables the pilot to locate targets in poor visibility conditions. C and D models delivered since 1989 also have improved night attack abilities, consisting of the Hughes AN/AAR-50 thermal navigation pod, the Loral AN/AAS-38 NITE Hawk FLIR (forward looking infrared array) targeting pod, night vision goggles, and two full-colour (formerly monochrome) multi-function display (MFDs) and a color moving map.
In May 2016, two F/A-18s assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 211 at Oceana Naval Air Station of Virginia Beach, VA were on a routine training mission when the two jets collided. The fighters were 27 miles off Cape Hatteras near the Oregon Inlet.