Dutch Air Force F-16 shoots itself by mistake

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An incident that took place in January of this year is being investigated, in which a Dutch Air Force F-16 managed to shoot itself with its own MA61A1 Vulcan Gatling gun at a military range on the island of Vlieland, bringing the concept of friendly fire to a whole new level.

On 21 January, two F-16s were carrying out firing exercises, and the aircraft in question managed to catch up with its own 20-millimetre cannon rounds, damaging the fuselage and parts of the engine. No pilots were injured during this incident.

“The incident reflects why guns on a high-powered performance jet are perhaps a less than ideal weapon.” The Vulcan is able to fire 6,000 rounds a minute, but its magazines only hold 511 rounds, which is enough for five seconds of constant shooting. A pilot can accelerate and manoeuvre in such a way that they get hit by their own bullets.

The Dutch Air Force is currently replacing its F-16s with Lockheed F-35As, which have four-barrel General Dynamics GAU-22 Equalizers, with 25-millimetre cannons that can hold 182 rounds for two seconds of constant fire, hopefully providing less opportunities for ‘potentially deadly friendly fire’.

(Link arstechnica.com, Photo opmerkelijk.nieuws.nl)

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