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AMRAAM fired in Estonia

Unread postPosted: 07 Aug 2018, 20:41
by pron
Not everyday we see something like this, and not this close to the Russian border.

A Spanish Eurofighter accidentally fired an air-to-air missile over Estonian territory. The incident took place over Pangodi in Tartu County. The flight path, location and status of the missile are currently under investigation.

The missile was fired at 15.44 EEST over Tartu County's Pangodi area. The AMRAAM type missile's firing range is 100 km, it is 3.7 m long, 18 cm in diameter, and carries a live warhead. The last assumed location of the missile is roughly 40 km to the north of the city of Tartu.

The Air Force launched a missile search operation on Tuesday evening. The Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) are asking anyone who notices something that resembles a missile on the ground to move away from it and immediately inform the Air Force, either calling 717 1900 or 112. The EDF are also asking people not to go looking for the weapon on their own.

The Spanish Eurofighter Typhoon 2000, part of Nato's Baltic air policing mission, safely landed at its base in Šiauliai in Lithuania.
https://news.err.ee/852142/spanish-figh ... n-airspace

How can anything like this happen?

Re: AMRAAM fired in Estonia

Unread postPosted: 07 Aug 2018, 21:20
by SpudmanWP
Dammit, I said "time for lunch" NOT "time for launch".... :doh:

Re: AMRAAM fired in Estonia

Unread postPosted: 07 Aug 2018, 22:26
by botsing
SpudmanWP wrote:Dammit, I said "time for lunch" NOT "time for launch".... :doh:

LOL

Re: AMRAAM fired in Estonia

Unread postPosted: 07 Aug 2018, 23:04
by popcorn
No self-destruct feature or is that only used for test firings to save on drones?

Re: AMRAAM fired in Estonia

Unread postPosted: 08 Aug 2018, 05:47
by hythelday
At least now we know for sure that BAP fighters are armed with live ordance :wink:

Re: AMRAAM fired in Estonia

Unread postPosted: 08 Aug 2018, 09:56
by gideonic
Reportedly the missile was launched near Pangodi and radar contact was lost ~40km north of Tartu.

There are at least 13 reports of people hearing a loud boom near Tartu in that timeframe (article in Estonian below). Most are within the city but some go as far as Palamuse (about where the missile reportedly was lost).

What are the odds that this was not a self-destruct? Does AMRAAM make an audible sound breaking the sound barrier (which might have happened quite close to Tartu)? I guess that the warhead exploding can quite easily be heard about 40km away in good weather conditions, so for now that looks like the most likely scenario.

(article below, in Estonian)
https://tartu.postimees.ee/6031041/teis ... -plahvatus

Re: AMRAAM fired in Estonia

Unread postPosted: 08 Aug 2018, 14:50
by gideonic
The missile probably exploded near Endla Bog. No pieces have been found yet but there is strong indirect evidence (EDF is about 95% sure):
Estonian: https://www.err.ee/852357/kaitsevagi-le ... hvatuskoha

As for the loud booms near Tartu, it seems indeed that it was most likely the sonic boom of the missile. Learn something new every day! :shock:
Estonian: https://tartu.postimees.ee/6031695/teis ... libarjaari

Overall it seems that the missile travelled about 75 km (about 47 miles) before exploding. (I wonder what version it was? but probably AIM120C5).

Re: AMRAAM fired in Estonia

Unread postPosted: 09 Aug 2018, 13:44
by element1loop
No telemetry on 3D flight path for ACM analysis?

Re: AMRAAM fired in Estonia

Unread postPosted: 09 Aug 2018, 15:48
by mixelflick
What are the odds this falls into the wrong hands?

Makes you wonder how much of the missile remained intact. I cringe at the Russians getting ahold of it, sort of like they did that AIM-9B that flew up the tailpipe of a Chinese Mig and... lodged itself there for a ride home. Presto, instant Atoll/sidewinder copy :(

Re: AMRAAM fired in Estonia

Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2018, 08:52
by gideonic
mixelflick wrote:What are the odds this falls into the wrong hands?

Obviously one can't rule that out entirely, but it seems quite unlikely for now.

Yesterday evening Major General Martin Herem (Chief of Staff and soon to be Commander of EDF) posted more details on an Estonian military forum (Benefits of a small country I guess :D), to answer to the local "basment dweller" type hypercritical forum members. I Took the liberty of translating part of his post. Comments in square brackets are mine:

Martin Herem wrote:According to my information, the current state of affairs is as follows (all derived from public sources)

Helicopters were already searching the area in Tuesday evening. Based on EDF's best knowledge and Spanish calculations.
On Wednesday afternoon, a spot in Endla Natural Reserve was found, where smoke was rising and some trees were broken.
Before long, the airmen and rescuers (including a bomb group) arrived there, finding before them a burning landscape [the European heatwave causes critical fire-hazards in the bogs]. Smoke, heat and safety procedures didn't allow searching the area. But the overall picture seemed to indicate a fall and explosion of something.

Of course one could always argue, that there could have been another cause for the fire and downwards facing and tree cutting explosion, but, according to our Fire Department there was a 95% change of that being the crash site of the AMRAAM.

On Thursday, the surrounding areas were searched (to no avail) but no one could till enter the burning area.

Extinguishing the fire is complicated as the terrain is difficult. There is also the concern of damaging the delicate terrain with too-much water pressure [these bogs are protected ad form over thousands of years]. There is no point in risking a helicopter as the state there is still unknown. Currently the ball is in the hands of the Fire Department and EDF sees no reason to rush things (nor could they legally, based on the current situation).

...

Now I understand that it’s in our neighbors interest to spread rumors, and people with lively fantasies will soon arrive at conspiracy theories. But there’s nothing to be done about it.

Hopefully we can search the area tomorrow [today] and find parts of the missile.

In conclusion:
Everything suggests that the remains of the missile are there in the fire.
But as long as we are yet to touch the missile with our own hands, nobody can say for certain.
We have to wait a while longer.
I just don’t believe in it falling to the hands of the Russians.


Fast forward to today - it seems that most of the bog has been extinguished, so we should find out soon enough.

Re: AMRAAM fired in Estonia

Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2018, 09:22
by gideonic
One mystery is still why did the missile fire in the first place, as the Spanish fighter pilot was no newbie (had over 3000 hours under his belt!) and usually one doesn't practice actually firing missiles with live ordnance on board (AFAIK). Unfortunately for this we also have to wait, as NATO won't comment this until the investigation is ongoing.

Re: AMRAAM fired in Estonia

Unread postPosted: 11 Aug 2018, 17:35
by hythelday
Missile not found where EDF though it was:
https://translate.google.com/translate? ... t=&act=url

https://news.err.ee/852840/debris-from- ... ot-located

Engineers stripped the area of about 600 sqare meters of ~0.5m of soil till they reached clay layer and then EOD checked the surface with some gizmo that can "see" 6 meters deep, but didn't locate anything. The 1,5 kilometer radius human chain search also produced nothing. The search is ongoing

Since no debris was found I suspect the missile didn't explode in the air (which means that self-destruct didn't work). The fact that they are not sure whether it worked or not implies it wasn't a D version with two way datalink.

Re: AMRAAM fired in Estonia

Unread postPosted: 13 Aug 2018, 10:23
by gideonic
hythelday wrote:Since no debris was found I suspect the missile didn't explode in the air (which means that self-destruct didn't work). The fact that they are not sure whether it worked or not implies it wasn't a D version with two way datalink.


I'm pretty sure Spain doesn't even operate the D version yet.

Considering the speed, If the missile failed to self-destruct, there's a change it won't be found at all, if it went down in a lake or a wet bog for instance.

Re: AMRAAM fired in Estonia

Unread postPosted: 14 Aug 2018, 20:38
by madrat
Should be able to sample water to narrow down the search. It's not like it's chemical free.

Re: AMRAAM fired in Estonia

Unread postPosted: 15 Aug 2018, 13:56
by mixelflick
Could have been worse IMO..

Didn't a (Japanese?) F-15 shoot down his wingman with a sidewinder??