Incident branded ‘serious’ by Netherlands Department of Defence

Tom Embury-Dennis

An investigation has been launched after a Dutch fighter jet shot itself with its cannon, forcing the plane into an emergency landing.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 suffered “considerable damage” following the accident during a training exercise over Vlieland in January, according to state broadcaster NOS.

At least one round caused damage to the plane’s exterior after the pilot attempted to hit a practice target at Leeuwarden air base. Part of the munition was also found in the engine.

Nobody was injured, NOS reported, and the pilot was able to perform an emergency landing.

The Netherlands Defence Safety Inspection is investigating how the plane was able to fire upon itself and whether any air or ground personnel were endangered during the accident.

“This is a serious incident. We therefore want to fully investigate what happened and how we would be able to avoid this in future”, said Wim Bagerbos, inspector general at the Department of Defence.

It is not known how long the investigation will last.