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U.S. F-16 drops dummy bomb off firing range in northeastern Japan

November 8, 2019 (by Lieven Dewitte) - A U.S. F-16 fighter jet accidentally released a 230 kilogram (500lb) inert bomb during onto private property near a firing and bombing range near Misawa Air Base in northeastern Japan.

USAF F-16C dropping an inert GBU-38 on Draughon Range.

Besides a crater in the ground, no one was injured and no buildings were damaged in the incident, which took place during a training mission at around 18:35h Wednesday.

The U.S. military reported the incident to the ministry Thursday morning and suspended similar training missions with dummy bombs for the time being. The cause of the incident is still under investigation,

The dummy bomb, filled with concrete instead of gunpowder, landed in a meadow about 5 kilometers west of the training site, which straddles the city of Misawa and the village of Rokkasho, according to the ministry officials.

The training site is located about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of U.S. Misawa Air Base, which the fighter jet belongs to. A post office and a school are located within a 5-kilometer radius of the training site.

The Draughon range is managed by the U.S. military but it is also used by the Japanese Air Self-Defense Forces. It is the only area on the Japan's main island of Honshu where air-to-ground firing and bombing can be conducted.

In 2005 teher was a similar incident when aMisawa F-16 dumped a practise bomb in sea and in 2006 when a practice bomb fell off a Misawa F-16 into the ocean.

In February 2018, an F-16 from Misawa was forced to drop its fuel tanks into a lake because of an engine fire. The jet landed safely with no injuries.

Additional images:

USAF F-16C block 50 #91-0399 spotted taking off on November 16th, 2004 at Misawa AB. [USAF photo by SSgt. Cherie A. Thurlby]

USAF F-16C block 50 #91-0346 from the 14th FS flies over Misawa and Lake Ogawara on the way to a training mission on May 13th, 2009. The plane is loaded with an inert GBU-38 that was successfully dropped on Draughon Range, marking a first for Misawa AB. [USAF photo by 1st Lt. Ryan Cross]