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  • 42

Dutch F-16 flies into its own bullets, scores self-inflicted hits

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The Netherlands’ Defense Safety Inspection Agency (Inspectie Veiligheid Defensie) is investigating an incident during a January military exercise in which a Dutch Air Force F-16 was damaged by live fire from a 20-millimeter cannon—its own 20-millimeter cannon. At least one round fired from the aircraft’s M61A1 Vulcan Gatling gun struck the aircraft as it fired at targets on the Dutch military’s Vliehors range on the island of Vlieland, according to a report from the Netherlands’ NOS news… (arstechnica.com) Altro...

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sunsethybiscus47
"Faster than a speeding bullet"
CHBHA
CB HARDY 4
And I thought I would be the first.
wmr350
That is possible in most any fighter. We were warned or told about it with the F-4.
royhunte92
Roy Hunte 3
That was the guy that shot himself down?
skylab72
skylab72 2
Most any >supersonic< fighter, maybe. To do that in a sub-sonic jet you would have to fire at a very high angle and try to fly to where the projectiles will be coming back down in time. It is straightforward ballistics. To the best of my knowledge, all the aircraft that have actually impacted projectiles they themselves fired have done so in the transonic domain, literally "outrunning their bullets".
basket77
Matt Kase 1
I'm not familiar with any fighter aircraft currently in the inventory of modern air forces that -isn't- supersonic.
skylab72
skylab72 1
Young whippersnapper. Gunslinging dogfights happen in the subsonic domain, target acquisition and tracking at supersonic speeds makes missiles far more effective in that domain. Moreover, air to mud (ground support) demands performance at slow speeds. Specific examples? USAF A-10 Warthog is still in service, Russia has the YAK-130. There are even prop driven turbine powered P-51 derivatives being sold to smaller airforces around the world. I met an A-10 jockey who had volunteered to transition from F-16s to Warthogs. He was adamant that with comparable target acquisition and tracking avionics, he would be happy to take on any version of F-35 with his A-10.
basket77
Matt Kase 1
Perhaps we were talking about two different things. I read your post to mean that this phenomenon was limited to supersonic-capable fighter aircraft. To which I responded that *all* fighter aircraft in the stables of modern air forces are supersonic-capable. And I agree with your statements about air-to-air in the subsonic regime. But small air forces fielding turboprop fighters are not modern air forces, to be sure. Further, A-10's, YAK-130's, SU-25's, etc., while not supersonic-capable, are not fighter aircraft either, they are attack aircraft--a very important distinction to this Naval Attack Jet Aviator ;-)
skylab72
skylab72 2
Sorry, clumsy English is ambiguous. I was >thinking< I was adding the word "supersonic" to Mark Ryalls assertion "any fighter" could outrun its bullets... And yes I brought up attack aircraft to lead into the assertion by my USAF acquaintance that he would happily enter a furball with the latest generation fighters IF he could limit the fight to guns and have the ability to "see" commensurate to theirs [level the playing field]. I took his remark to be confidence in the maneuverability of the A-10 and its gun. I also firmly believe the performance envelope superior for an aerial gunfight is remarkably similar to that superior for close air support.

I have the utmost respect for Naval Aviators.
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON -1
Why would an F-4 need a gun?
skylab72
skylab72 1
That was a Joke... Right?
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON 2
ba-da-psh

Thank you, I'll be here all week.
MrTommy
MrTommy 1
Wasn't it the F-4 Phantom that initially came out without guns? They thought dog fighting was antiquated and replaced with rockets.
ToddBaldwin3
It was. That was the going philosophy at the time. Then they tried mounting a self-contained gun, with a RAT to provide electrical power, but it wasn't effective at low speeds. Finally, they mounted one internal to the aircraft.
ToddBaldwin3
Since no one was hurt, that's pretty darn funny. Explain to the boss how you managed to shoot your own self.
chabig
It's as easy to hit yourself with a ricochet in an airplane as it is with a gun in your hand. Shoot at something close and solid.
tongo
'Easy'? Sounds downright impossible to me. OK, ATP, I'm dying to know. How does a flying-16 get hit with a bullet that it fired that ricochets off of something close and solid? Easy or not?
chabig
The shell ricocheted off the ground during live strafe. Ricochets are nothing new. That's why there are range safety rules regarding minimum altitude and minimum range, to preclude the firing plane from getting hit. This pilot likely violated one or both of the rules.
tongo
The article indicates differently. What altitude would an airplane have to be at in order to be hit by ricocheting rounds from the surface? Any on-line references to this actually happening?
chabig
The article indicates that the mishap occurred during strafe training on a live air to surface range. Beyond that point, journalists who know nothing about the subject conjectured incorrectly.
tongo
Possible, but also conjecture. It is possible that the journalist was simply repeating a conjecture provided to him/her from a more informed source. I have found credible on-line references to hitting ammo in mid-air, but nothing about hitting ammo that has ricocheted off a target at the surface. That would still seem to be to be the more reasonable explanation.
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON 1
journalists who know nothing...

as opposed to internet commenters who know everything?
chabig
As opposed to internet commenters who were fighter pilots for 12 years, yes.
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON 1
Well I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night, so...
chabig
Link to USAF air to surface training ROE: https://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a3/publication/afi11-214/afi11-214.pdf
tongo
Thanks for the link, I looked this over. I found a section on minimum altitudes for strafing, but no reference to the purpose being to avoid ricocheting ammunition. The purpose seems to keep the aircraft from hitting the ground, given that helicopters have a lower minimum than fixed wing aircraft. "5.3.6.2.4. Low Angle Strafe/Long Range Strafe/Two Target Strafe (LAS/LRS/TTS): 75 feet AGL (50 feet AGL for helicopters)." A 75 foot minimum altitude for a fighter strafing a target during practice just seems like a common sense restriction to protect life and equipment from a collision with an object fixed to the ground. Do you have any on-line references establishing that collision with ricocheting ammo has actually occurred?
chabig
Both minimum range and and minimum altitude are there for safety, which includes safety from hitting the ground and safety from getting hit by ricochets. I am speaking from experience of 12 years as a fighter pilot, 5 in the F-16. I've been on the range a hundred times and also served as range safety officer. These things are well known in the fighter community, taught to all.
tongo
Ok, thank you.
chabig
Your question is fair, though. I will look for more public information. I have an idea. Stand by.
JMARTINSON
JMARTINSON 1
To a 20mm cannon projectile going 3500 feet per second, nothing is solid.

Doesn't matter though because it didn't bounce (they flew into it).
chabig
The Earth is solid. The shell ricocheted off the ground during live strafe. That has been happening since airplanes began shooting at the ground. It's nothing new. Press accounts of the airplane "catching up" to the shell are just wrong.
skylab72
skylab72 1
Oop, Sorry, that actually has happened to real fighter pilots as well. In the early days of supersonic fighters, several incidents following this profile (fired, entered a steeper descent, hit the afterburners and impacted own projectiles) were reported. I am sure you can find these stories on an F-104A USAF, as well as an F11F-1 USN, and maybe an English Electric Lightning. This article, however, does seem to be the more common ricochet profile.
CHBHA
CB HARDY 2
The F-16. Faster than a speeding bullet.
craigbell1941
Craig Bell 2
All of this bickering children! Now play nice and enjoy your weekend. Out!
ADXbear
ADXbear 3
Defines shooting ones self in the foot..
whbarker3rd1
When I worked at Lockheed (a looooong time ago) our F-104 Starfighter was known to be capable of flying into the rounds from its 20mm Vulcan. I guess things haven't changed that much.
dbrosssr
My older brother, flying F86's, in the Korean war said they had this problem.
skylab72
skylab72 1
Your brother may have been exaggerating. The first "Saber" incarnation to actually be that fast was the "Super", the F-100.

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joelwiley
joel wiley 1
There is a mechanism. At the bottom of every comment are 3 links:
Reply
Permalink
Report

If you find a post objectionable, report it. Do you expect them to monitor everything, hunting for something somebody would consider 'inappropriate'?

Reporting it will alert them to investigate. They may or may not agree with you. Use of that process has yielded suspensions and account deletions in the past for very bad actors.
Scumhook
Scumhook 1
Reported
shenghaohan
She just want some R&R and shot her own foot....
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Does this count toward his becoming an Ace?
WhiteKnight77
While it might be easy to laugh at it now, he could have been swinging on a chute and dropping into freezing water. At least he was able to RTB. The picture on the FlightGlobal site seems to show that he actually flew into his own rounds, maybe at least 2 of them based upon the pic there. Maybe Chris, our resident Viper jock can confirm.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/picture-dutch-investigate-f-16-damaged-by-own-gunfi-457441/
bb1040
You would think by now the training would have thought them not to accelerate into their own gun fire...this is not the first time this has happened and the training should have taken care of it a long time ago...
speshulk99
Way back in 1963, while on a Med Cruise, a Phantom did the same thing while practicing on a spar the The Enterprise was towing for practice. Nothing new here. BTW, the pilot ejected and was rescued shortly thereafter.
n9341c
n9341c 1
I didn't know Don Knotts was a pilot.
jbsimms
https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a27967/the-fighter-plane-that-shot-itself-down/
Cansojr
Cansojr 1
Thank you for posting my complaint.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
It appears that the person who was ranting at you had his posts deleted. Some of yours and one or two of mine were also deleted.

And no, I did not click on 'Report'.
Good day.
Cansojr
Cansojr 1
Me either, good day to you Joel.
Cansojr
Cansojr 0
Pal of yours got the boot or you wouldn't be fishing around like this. He certainly was no friend of mine. You to for that matter.
sweeper239
sweeper239 1
Ex F-4 Jockey and yes we were warned of that possibility during Viet Nam
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
That's really putting Theater back in European Theater of Operations.
"Fortunately' the F-16 will be replaced by the FUP-35 which carries a third of the rounds which reduces the likelihood of a repeat performance

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SmokedChops
Brilliant!! [for everyone who is having a meltdown over this comment, it is based on an old comedy song from early 1960's, 'The Ballad of Irving" about a kosher cowboy) "the 132nd fastest gun <CRACK> in the wesssssst" You sir, are a genius!!Need to ask, did you know if it originally, or through Dr. Demento?
SmokedChops
142nd fastest gun....in the west. (had to look it up)
Cansojr
Cansojr -4
No matter I didn't. I purchased a 33 / 1l/2 LP. " You are in love when the whole world is Jewish". It's a scream the loon didn't like.
Cansojr
Cansojr 1
If you like this check the up arrow.
ReverendLee
Scott Lee 2
Now THAT was funny!
I had forgotten about that until I read this.
One nit-pick: it's 142nd fastest.

"He was sittin' there twirlin' his gun around
And butterfingers Irving gunned himself down."

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