Amid tweets showing photos of the charred remains of a fighter jet, the U.S. Air Force has confirmed that one of its F-16 Fighting Falcons has crashed outside the town of Engelmannsreuth, which is the Bavarian region in Germany. The F-16 was based out of Spangdahlem Air Force Base, and the pilot is reported to be okay, according to Germany’s The Local.
The incident occurred Tuesday morning at 7:38 am GMT after what is thought to be a routine training mission.
Before the crash, the pilot flew over an unpopulated area and released the fuel tanks before successfully ejecting from the F-16. Although the pilot did not suffer any serious injuries, a local man was treated for smoke inhalation connected to the flames that erupted from the crash.
Upon their arrival, U.S. and Germany emergency responders immediately cordoned off the area and had the flames extinguished around midday local time.
The F-16 was not carrying any live ordinance, but according to Reuters, U.S. officials say the F-16 was carrying six 25-pound training bombs. The cause of the crash is unknown, but U.S. Officials are investigating. This latest F-16 crash comes just months after another U.S. F-16 fighter jet crashed in Southern Arizona.
While the pilot’s details are still unknown, U.S. Air Force pilots stationed at Spangdahlem Air Force Base are part of the 52nd Fighter Wing. The 52nd Fighter Wing employs up to 4000 active duty U.S. military members and about 200 civilian personnel.
The U.S. Operation at Spangdhalem works to support NATO’s ongoing mission in the region and other U.S. defense activities. The 52nd Fighter Wing hosts up to 24 F-16 Fighting Falcons along with 2 TPS-75 radar arrays, which are mobile units designed to scan the airspace above them.
F-16’s are designed and built by U.S. manufacturer, General Dynamics and first flew in 1974. The aircraft became a mainstay in the U.S. Air Force because of its multi-purpose capabilities as an all-weather air superiority platform. The aircraft was revolutionary for its fly-by-wire control system which allows for the pilot to control the aircraft indirectly via electrical signals.
There are two models of the F-16 in production, and the price for each fighter ranges between $14.5 and $18.5 million depending on what capabilities are ordered. Although the jet is built in the U.S., the U.S. is one of twenty-five nations in the world that have used the jet in their arsenal. There are no plans to retire the aircraft.
[Image via Sean Gallup/Getty Images]