F16 crashes in capital; no casualties

A Staff Reporter
Filed on January 10, 2006

ABU DHABI — Military authorities have started an investigation into the crash of an F16 Falcon block 60 fighter plane which was reported officially by the UAE Armed Forces Headquarters yesterday.

There were no casualties in the incident. This variant of the Lockheed Martin built F16 is regarded as one of the world’s most versatile multi-role fighter aircraft and has been hailed as a significant addition to the UAE Air Force capability. Official sources declined to release details on how the crash occurred, but said an investigation was under way “to determine the cause of the accident.” The source said the crash occurred yesterday morning. An official statement carried by Emirates News Agency (Wam) said “the pilot landed safely after ejecting from the crashing plane.”

Attempts by your favourite No. 1 newspaper Khaleej Times to get more details on the crash from the UAE Armed Forces Headquarters last night were not successful. An aircraft purchase, originally announced in 1998 for the ‘Block 60’ F16 fighter, came to fruition in May last year with delivery of the first batch of aircraft.

The contract for 80 aircraft is understood to be worth $6.4 billion and it saw the fighter delivered with some of the most modern equipment and systems available, including new cockpit displays, advanced mission computer and internal sensor suite. With many advanced features, the fighter has the flexibility to be deployed in a range of roles. The F16 was selected by the UAE in May 1998 after an intensive evaluation process. According to Lockheed Martin, the F-16 is the world's most successful and sought-after fighter. The UAE was the 21st country to order the F-16.

The F16 will be the ‘Superstar’ of the Aerobatics Show 2006, to be hosted by Al Ain city during the Eid Al Adha holidays, according to Staff Maj-Gen Pilot Khalid Abdullah Al Buainain, Commander of Air Force and Air Defence. He recently unveiled that the UAE’s air force and air defence would have strong presence at the show. The Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, the first of the US Air Force multi-role fighter aircraft, is regarded as the world’s most prolific fighter with more than 2,000 in service with the USAF and 2,000 operational with 23 other countries.

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