According to reports, a Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft sustained damage after it ended up accidentally shooting itself in a strange incident. The bizarre incident is said to have taken place during a training exercise as per the reports.
The aircraft that sustained damage was operating with another F-16 as part of a training flight when this incident took place. As per a Dutch media report, the Dutch Viper (this is the name that is usually given to the F-16 in the fighter aircraft community) ‘suffered considerable damage’. The report goes on to state that the damage was caused by the ammunition of the F-16 aircraft itself.
According to the reports, the F-16 aircraft took heavy damage when one of its cannon rounds ended up hitting the jet again. It is being said that one of the cannon rounds fired by the fighter jet ricocheted after making contact with a training target while the plane was performing a strafing run.
A picture of the damaged aircraft shows deep longitudinal tears in the central fuselage of the F-16. There are reports that the fighter jet took damage in its rear section as well. As of now, most of the details of the incident are not known. However, media reports are describing the event as a case of ‘plane shooting itself’.
But, is it really a case of the plane shooting itself? Let’s see; the F-16 features a General Dynamics M61A1 six-barrel, 20mm Gatling gun. The gun is mounted on the left side of the fuselage, behind and below the cockpit. The gun weighs about 248 pounds and is capable of firing up to 6,000 rounds per minute.
The muzzle velocity of the F-16’s M61A1 cannon is ‘3,450 feet per second’ whereas the top speed of the F-16 is about 2,200 feet per second. This makes the possibility of an F-16 catching its own bullets during a flight next to impossible.