A maintenance worker from Belgian air force accidentally fired a M61A1 20mm Vulcan cannon from an F-16 jet he was working on at Belgium's Florennes Air Force Base earlier this week, destroying another F-16 while damaging another aircraft nearby, according to multiple media reports.
A worker apparently opened fire across the flight line while performing maintenance on Oct 11, according to Avio News. The F-16 that was racked by cannon fire quickly caught fire and exploded, since it was loaded with fuel and being readied for an afternoon sortie, according to Scramble Magazine.
The airbase at Florennes is home to the Belgian 2nd Tactical Wing which comprises the 1st ‘Stingers’ Squadron and the 350th Squadron.
The Belgian Air Force confirmed a fire broke out on the base during maintenance work, causing one plane to burn while causing collateral damage in a second, without mentioning cannon fire as being the cause.
Belgium’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement that two technicians suffered hearing injuries and were treated on the spot, while adding that an investigation into the incident had been launched.
A report ten days after the incident said the search for the missing weapon was called off. The missile was never located. “All the theoretical impact points of the missile have now been carefully searched,” said Commander of the Estonian Air Force Col. Riivo Valge in an EDF press release.
The Belgian Air Force did not respond to a request for comment from Task & Purpose.
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