A Belgian Air Component F-16 fighter jet was wrecked, and another one was severely damaged in an incident where two maintainers accidentally fired another jet’s Gatling gun. The event took place at Florennes Air Base on 11th October. The maintainers were working on Belgian Air Force F16AM jet when they accidentally opened fire from the M61 20-mm six-barreled Gatling gun of the plane. The cannon rounds fired hit another F-16AM which was parked nearby and was ready to take a flight. The fire and explosion wrecked the other jet and damaged another plane as well.
Apart from the physical damage to the jets, the maintainers who opened the fire also suffered some hearing damage. However, they were treated on the spot. The F-16 Fighting Falcon is equipped with one M61 Vulcan cannon which can fire from air to air and air to ground both. The 250lb gun has six rotating barrels which can shoot 6000 rounds per minute. The jet has 511 rounds for the gun, and it is also used in some other fighter jets including F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the F-22 Raptor. The M61 is also used in the Phalanx CIWS shipboard point defense system, and the US Army also used it as an air defense gun.
2nd Air Wing belongs to Florennes, and it also consisted of the 1st and 350th Fighter Squadrons. Belgium purchased 116 F-16 among which 58 were operational by 10th October. After the incident, there are 56 planes which are still operational. Belgium is also looking for options to replace the F-16s with new jets which will either be F-35 Joint Strike Fighter or Dassault Rafale.