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F-16 grounded after shooting itself

‘Even inanimate objects will do anything to get out of training’

An Dutch F-16 fighter jet, obtained from the United States, had to make an emergency landing after it shot itself.

“Sometimes, even inanimate objects will do anything to get out of training,” wrote J.D. Simkins at the Military Times.

Details weren’t available on how the jet encountered the shells from its own 20mm rotary cannon, but officials in the Royal Netherlands Air Force said there was “considerable damage.”

A Dutch language report said an investigation has been launched.

One cartridge caused damage to the exterior of the jet, and parts also ended up in the engine.

The incident happened Jan. 21 when two jets were firing on a target in a training ground.

Officials said the situation was very serious.

The pilot made an emergency landing at Leeuwarden Air Base.

An inspector general in the Netherlands Department of Defense, Wim Bagerbos, told Dutch media, “We therefore want to fully investigate what happened and how we would be able to avoid this in future.”

Simkins wrote that there was a similar case in which an aircraft was hit by its own weaponry.

“Thomas W. Attridge Jr. became the first pilot to do so in September 1956 when, flying as a test pilot for Grumman, the 33-year-old former Navy officer shot down his own F11 F-1 Tiger, similar to the variant used by the Blue Angels during the 1960s,” he reported.

Attridge was firing the Tiger’s 20mm rotary cannon while diving, the report said, and the pilot noticed what he thought was a bird strike.

“Before long, however, the engine began to fail, and his emergency return to the Grumman airstrip was cut short as he crashed through a thicket of trees just short of the runway,” the report said.

Simkins explained: “The investigation into his crash found that the rounds he fired during the rapid descent experienced enough drag to drastically slow their velocity. As the plane’s acceleration increased, it managed to gain on its own rounds before miraculously connecting in mid-air.”