Estonia concludes the investigation to the accidental air-to-air missile firing

Estonia has concluded its investigation to the AMRAAM air-to-air missile launched by a Spanish NATO Baltic Air Policing aircraft on 7 August 2018 in the course of the air exercise in the Estonian air space.

The investigation found the missile was accidentally fired as a result of the pilot’s failure to comply with the safety rules and regulations and not by a systematic error, the Estonian ministry of defence said in a statement. “The incident caused no threat to civilian aviation as for the exercises allies reserve training areas cleared of civil air traffic,” it added.

The investigation also found the current regulations and rules already in place to be sufficient to guarantee the safety, it’s crucial that these regulations are followed at all times across the alliance’s missions and operations.

The missile is still missing

The missile has not been located and the Estonian population has been requested to inform the rescue and safety authorities if found – the remains of the missile may still be hazardous.

The NATO Baltic Air Policing mission continues to operate and the “security of the Estonia’s air space is guaranteed”, the statement noted.

The NATO Baltic Air Policing mission started in 2004. The mission is operated from Ämari, Estonia, and from Siauliai, Lithuania. “This was the first incident of its kind in the history of the entire mission,” the defence ministry asserted.

Estonia ready to welcome the Spaniards back

The investigation was carried out by the Estonian ministry of defence and the representatives from the civilian agencies under the ministry of economic affairs. The investigation focused on the rules and regulations of the safety of the military as well as the civilian air traffic.

“Estonia received relevant and timely information from Spain about the incident and would like to thank the Spanish authorities for a constructive cooperation,” the ministry pointed out.

“Spain is an important and committed ally – Spanish jets have regularly participated the mission, it was the fifth time Spanish aircraft took part in the mission, and Estonia is ready to welcome them back,” the statement also noted.


Cover: A Spanish Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon (the image is illustrative/Wikimedia Commons).

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