Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Spanish jet accidentally fires missile above Estonia during drill

Spanish jet accidentally fires missile above Estonia during drill

The missile fired by the jet should have self-destructed but apparently failed to do so.

The military said that the Eurofighter Typhoon from the Spanish Air Force - part of NATO's Baltic air-policing mission - erroneously launched an AMRAAM-type air-to-air missile in a practice area in southern Estonia on Tuesday afternoon.

"The flight path, location and status of the missile are now under investigation", the official said of Tuesday's incident.

After the incident the jets returned to an air base in Siauliai in northern Lithuania where they are based.

An AIM-120 AMRAAM being loaded onto an F-16 fighter jet. The last presumed location of the missile was 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of the Estonian town of Tartu. The 12-foot-long missile has a range of about 60 miles and carries a roughly 50-pound high-explosive warhead.

The Eurofighter 's missile was equipped with a self-destruction mode that should activate when it's launched by an accident, but it can not be ruled out that the missile landed on the ground.

The Defence forces of Estonia have issued an alert, warning the public an unexploded missile or parts of it could be on the ground and urging them to refrain from touching it but, rather, call immediately the country's air force.

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There are no known human casualties.

He said the Estonian Defence Forces were working with its allies to ensure it did not happen again.

The Spanish Defense Ministry also opened an investigation.

"The air-to-air missile has not hit any aircraft. The defence ministry has opened an investigation to clarify the exact cause of the incident".

An investigation has also begun into how the Spanish Eurofighter jet, which is providing security in the Baltic region along with other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces based in Lithuania, could have accidentally fired the rocket.

Spain led the BAP mission in 2006 and 2016 and augmented it out of Ämari in 2015 and 2017, making this the fifth tour to the Baltics.

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