Spanish jet accidentally fires missile at Estonia

A Eurofighter Typhoon like that which mistakenly dropped a missile over Estonia CREDIT: VADIM GHIRDA/AP

Estonia’s military says it is looking for the remains of a missile that a Spanish fighter jet accidentally fired while drilling in the air space of the Baltic country and NATO ally.

The military said that the Eurofighter Typhoon from the Spanish Air Force – part of NATO’s Baltic air-policing mission – erroneously launched an AMRAAM-type air-to-air missile in a practice area in southern Estonia Tuesday afternoon.

The missile carried explosives of up to 10 kilograms (22 pounds) and was last located around 40 kilometers (24 miles) north of Estonia’s second city of Tartu.

It has a built-in self-destruct for such accidents, but may have landed on the ground.

Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas said on Facebook that there were “thank God no human casualties,” calling the incident “extremely regrettable.”

“I am sure that the Estonian defence forces will, in cooperation with our allies, identify all the circumstances of the case and make every effort to make sure that nothing like this happens again,” he added.

Spain’s defence ministry said Tuesday it has opened an investigation into the incident which during a routine training mission.

“A Spanish Eurofighter based in Lithuania accidentally fired a missile without causing any harm,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The air-to-air missile has not hit any aircraft. The defence ministry has opened an investigation to clarify the exact cause of the incident,” it added.

Two Spanish Eurofighter jets, and two French Mirage 2000 jets, were taking part in the training exercise, the ministry said.

After the incident the jets returned an air base in Siauliai in northern Lithuania where they are based. – AP



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