FA50 fighter jets grounded after air strike mishap in Marawi
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine military said on Thursday, July 13, it grounded its FA50 fighter jets after one figured in an air strike accident in Marawi City.
Military spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said the South Korean jets are grounded pending investigation of the incident on Wednesday, July 12, that killed two soldiers and injured 11 others.
“The FA50 will momentarily be pulled out from employment as close air aircraft until the investigation has been conducted… to look closely at what caused the failure of one of the bombs. Once we determine that, remedial measures will have to be undertaken to correct it,” said Padilla.
Air strikes will continue using the other aircraft of the Philippine Air Force.
Despite the incident, Padilla highlighted the accuracy of the newly acquired aircraft. “I’d like to convey to you that the aircraft that has been used has had a very high success rate. Of the almost 70 missions that were performed by the aircraft – except for this incident – all of their missions were dead on target,” Padilla said.
“This was the only time when you have one wayward bomb from a pool of 4 that did not hit its target directly. The 3 others hit their targets. That’s why we need to investigate that,” he added.
It’s the second reported case of friendly fire in Marawi City, where troops are fighting homegrown terrorist groups that sought to carve their own territory in Mindanao. The crisis is now on its 8th week.
The military said the bomb missed its target by about 250 meters and instead hit a building near the position of troops. Debris from the collapse hit and killed the two soldiers. The military said 11 soldiers sustained minor wounds.
The first incident of friendly fire happened on May 31, when a bomb dropped by an Air Force SF260 aircraft hit a flank of soldiers. Eleven were killed.
The SF260s were grounded after that but have since been redeployed to conduct bombing runs. – Rappler.com