A Block 50 F-16CM from the U.S. Air Force 480th Fighter Squadron, the “Warhawks,” based at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany, crashed into a forest at around 9:30 a.m. local time while on a training mission near the U.S. Army Garrison in Grafenwoehr. The pilot safely ejected and is being held at the hospital with only light injuries associated with the ejection itself.
As for weaponry onboard, the F-16 was carrying six 25 pound Mk-76 training bombs according to the 52nd Fighter Wing. Even if no other explosives were onboard the F-16 at the time of the crash, the site could be highly volatile, not only due to spilled jet fuel, but also due to burning of toxic composite structures and especially the aircraft’s hydrazine reserves.
It is unclear what caused the F-16 to crash at this time.
The 480th Fighter Squadron is the only Wild Weasel (Suppression/Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses) unit forward deployed to Europe. As such, they are a highly tasked and prized asset for the USAFE. The squadron can also fulfill other missions such as counter-air, precision strike and close air support.
This crash comes exactly one month since a mid-air collision occurred over South Carolina involving an F-16 and a Cessna. In the incident, both people onboard the Cessna were killed, while the pilot of the F-16 ejected safely.
Photo via Carlos Menendez San Juan/wikicommons
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