Cockpits pose mystery for military in New Jersey

Navy officials are at a loss to at least publically explain how the cockpit sections from three fighter aircraft were found on private property in Middletown, New Jersey.

According to the Asbury Park Press, it took a forklift, a flatbed truck and about 20 troops from a local Naval Weapons Station to remove the cockpits from the site and are being held as evidence by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Investigators did not say who had the cockpits nor has anyone been charged with a crime, yet.

Specifically the cockpits of two F-14 fighters and an F-18 fighter which weigh anywhere form 2,000 to 4,000 lbs, had been "fully demilitarized" and no longer contained weapons control systems or other technically sensitive material, officials told the newspaper. "They're basically shells with nothing in them of any military importance," an official said. But the cockpits could be sold as scrap or used as displays or simulators, officials said.

Middletown, it seems is a hotbed of odd military aircraft happenings. In March, Air Force Civil Air Patrol teams were called in to locate an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT). ELTs are located on military aircraft ejection seats and started broadcasting once the seat is fired and departs the aircraft - a situation one would think people would notice. But a search of a local airport found no seat, nor a crash. The next day the ELT began transmitting again, only this time investigators found it -- an ejection seat from an F-16 jet fighter, located at a collector's residence. Only thing was, it was locked in the back of a car. Reports weren't clear how the collector came to own the seat.

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