March 8, 2009 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Three of the four Belgian F-16s stationed in Kandahar sustained heavy damage after their engines where FOD'ed by debris kicked up by a landing transport aircraft.
A BAF F-16AM taking off from Kabul International Airport.
So much dust and debris was released that the F-16 engines came to a halt.
The three Belgian aircraft were sitting on their parking spot when a Russian cargo plane taxied along.
That maneuver kicked up large quantities of pebbles and sand, which ended up in the engines of the Belgian F-16s and damaged the rotor blades.
As a precaution, and to any avoid further damage, the engines were removed from the three jets and sent back to Belgium
for further inspection. One of the jets already has a new engine and is airworthy again.
A C-130 will leave Belgium on Monday with two replacement engines to repair the other F-16s.
The Belgian Air Component deployed four F-16AMs to Kandahar in September 2008 together with 140 troops. They support the 41,700-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF
) in Afghanistan.