F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Belgian F-16s in Afghanistan heavily damaged

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.

Additional images:

Engine bay detail of a BAF F-16 at Rocourt on June 21st, 2005. [Military Aircraft Collection photo by Michael Stolle]