The Belgian air force said in a tweet on Thursday that:
“On 11 October 2018 around 14:10, a fire was reported during maintenance work on a F-16 at Florennes Base. The aircraft was burned. A second aircraft suffered collateral damage.”
“It is reported that a probable clumsy fault of a technician resulted in the explosion at Florennes air base (Belgium), resulting in a write-off of Belgium Air Force (BAF) F-16AM FA128.
“In a nearby hangar, positioned at the extension of the flight line, a technician was working on an F-16. It is said that by accident the six-barrel 20mm Vulcan M61A-1 cannon of that F-16 was activated. Apparently, the cannon was loaded and some ammunition hit the FA128. This aircraft had just been refuelled and prepared together with another F-16 for an upcoming afternoon sortie. After impact of the 20mm bullets, FA128 exploded instantly and damaged two other F-16s. Thankfully nobody got killed, only one technician incurred hearing impairment.
“The Belgian Aviation Safety Directorate started an investigation. The Belgian Air Force has some 54 F-16s left now.”
Florennes is located about 150km northwest of Luxembourg City as the missile crow flies.