Losses and Aviation Safety

Pilot error to blame for accidental firing of AIM-120 over Estonia

The pilot fired the AIM-120 while flying over Pangodi, some 40 kilometers north of Tartu, south Estonia, during training on Aug. 7

An investigation by the Spanish Air Force has determined that pilot error was behind the accidental firing of a AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile over Estonia.

The Eurofighter pilot initiated the firing sequence while flying over Pangodi, some 40 kilometers north of Tartu, south Estonia, during training on Aug. 7.

Safety measures were somehow bypassed.

The Typhoon, supporting the NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, landed safely at its base in Šiauliai in Lithuania.

Spanish Eurofighter fighter aircraft were suspended from NATO Baltic Air Policing duties in the wake of the accidental AMRAAM launch. Portuguese F-16s and French Mirage 2000s took over the task during investigations.

Spain has deployed aircraft in the Baltics around six times since 2004. The last deployment included 135 personnel and six Eurofighter jets from the military base of Morón de la Frontera (Seville), which were stationed at the base of Siauliai in northern Lithuania. The mission began on May 1 and ended on August 31.

The AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile) missile is a versatile and proven weapon with operational flexibility in a wide variety of scenarios.

The weapon’s advanced active guidance section provides aircrew with a high degree of combat flexibility and lethality.

Procured by 37 countries, the combat-proven AMRAAM missile has been integrated onto the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, F-22, F-35, Typhoon, Gripen, Tornado and Harrier.

Photo credit: Alan Wilson from Stilton, Peterborough, Cambs, UK (Eurofighter EF2000 Typhoon ‘C.16-48 / 14-12’) via Wikipedia

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

Recent Posts

The FB-111H/FB-111B/C: the FB-111 armed with 14 SRAMs or 18 AIM-54 Phoenix air-to-air long range missiles that never was

The FB-111 Originally known as the TFX (Tactical Fighter “X”), the F-111 was conceived to… Read More

7 hours ago

Top Aces completes first ‘Adversary Air’ training mission with upgraded A-4 Advanced Aggressor Fighter in Canada

Top Aces A-4 Advanced Aggressor Fighter Top Aces, the world's leading provider of advanced adversary… Read More

1 day ago

The Hunt For The Storozhevoy: when Soviets nearly nuked one of their own warships after it was involved in a mutiny

The mutiny of the Storozhevoy On Nov. 8, 1975, Lieutenant Commander Valeriy Sablin led his… Read More

2 days ago