An F-16 fighter jet belonging to the Belgian Air Force was completedly gutted and another severely damaged after a mechanic accidentally activated a third aircraft’s 20mm Vulcan M61A-1 cannon.
The incident happened when the mechanic was servicing an F-16 warplane at Florennes Air Base in the south of the country Thursday, local media and agencies reported.
A technician was working on an F-16 when he accidentally activated the six-barrels 20mm Vulcan M61A-1 cannon of that F-16.
Some armor penetrating shells from the cannon hit another F-16AM (Tail number FA-128). That aircraft had just been refueled and was being prepared for a training mission together with another F-16. Due to the shells hitting its fuselage and fuel tanks, the F-16AM exploded and severely damaged the other F-16.
Two technicians were injured after the blast and their condition was know known. The Belgian Aviation Safety Directorate and the Air Force have opened an investigation into the accident, the reports said.
The Belgian Air Force had 60 active F-16 aircraft, including 48 on duty for NATO. Belgium plans to replace its F-16 with new jets and is looking at the Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale and the F-35.
Belgium has rejected French offer of Rafale fighter jets for the countrys bid to replace aging F-16 fighter jets. “The French government already promised an economic return of$ 4 billion, there is now even $20 billion
France and Belgium signed a statement of intent on Thursday in a bid to reinforce their bilateral defence partnership in the context of high terror risks in the two countries. French Defence Minister, Florence Parly and her Belgian counterpart, Steven Vandeput, signed the document to cement cooperation in defence, mainly on land mobility, the French Defence Ministry said in a statement
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