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Venezuelan F-16 downs an aircraft violating Venezuelan airspace

March 31, 2024 (by Lieven Dewitte) - On Thursday the Venezuelan Air Force reported that one of its F-16 fighters shot down an aircraft declared hostile after it violated national airspace.

FAV F-16A block 15 #3648 from Grupo 16 is coming in for landing at El Libertador AB on November 9th, 2000. [ photo by Marc van Zon]

The aircraft was declared "hostile" as it did not have a flight plan nor an authorization from air traffic control to operate in the area.

The news was reported through the force’s official Twitter account, which also provided a video of the fighter jet’s firing run. At the time of this publication, neither the National Bolivarian Armed Forces nor the AMB have issued an official statement providing further details on the incident that occurred.

In the video sequence you can see how the pilot of the F-16 fighter from the 16th Fighter Air Group made a firing run that resulted in the downing of the hostile aircraft. It can be presumed that all protocols were followed for such unauthorized flights, including attempts to communicate with the aircraft orders to land at an airport specified by the authorities, with shooting it down as a last resort.

The Venezuelan F-16s have been carrying out various deployments in recent months to guard sovereign airspace. One of the most relevant was their participation in the joint military exercise “General Domingo Sifontes,” amid tensions with Guyana over the Esequibo territory. More recently, the combat aircraft based at El Libertador Air Base conducted an air-to-air missile launch exercise. This activity involved the participation of three F-16A/B aircraft (two single-seaters and one two-seater) armed with AIM-9L Sidewinder and Rafael Python 4 missiles.

Additional images:

FAV F-16B block 15 #9583 from Caza 16 has been equiped with 600 gal underwing tanks during a training sortie. [ photo]

FAV F-16B, #1715, banking over Lake Valencia. [FAV photo]

FAV F-16B block 15 #9583 at the ramp of Puerto Ordaz Airport with the ground crew cleaning the canopy on May 25th, 2004. [Photo by Iván Peña Nesbit]