An F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet of the Romanian Air Force lost a fuel tank and a pylon during a training flight in the area of ​​the Mălina range, eastern Romania.

The aircraft belongs to the 53rd Fighter Squadron based in the 86th Air Base, in Borcea. Romania acquired two batches of second-hand F-16A/B Block 15 MLU fighters from Portugal. Deliveries started in 2019, with the last of the 17 aircraft delivered in March 2021, completing the 53rd Fighter Squadron.

The fighter was carrying out a ground strike mission when the components detached from the aircraft.

“From the first information reported by the pilot, at the time of launching a training bomb, there was an uncontrolled detachment of an external fuel tank and the triple hook pylon on the right side of the aircraft, materials that fell in the area intended for air-ground fire from polygon,” reported the Romanian Air Force in a statement. “The incident did not endanger the life of the pilot or other people, nor the integrity of the aircraft or other properties and goods on the ground.”

The F-16 managed to land safely back at its base. The Chief of Staff of the Air Force appointed a commission to investigate the incident.

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