A F-16 fighter jet of the Royal Bahraini Air Force went down in southern Saudi Arabia while being involved in the air operations against Huthi ground forces in Yemen.
According to a statement from the Saudi-led coalition forces that fight in Yemen, the Lockheed Martin jet suffered a technical error. The pilot is said to have ejected the plane before the jet hit the ground in the Jazan region of Saudi Arabia. Although his status is called “safe” no details of his whereabouts have been released.
Moroccan F-16 crash
The RBAF jet crash is the fourth known loss for the Arab coalition fighting in Yemen. A Saudi Armed Forces AH-64 was shot down on 21 August. In May 2015 a Moroccan F-16 crashed, killing the pilot. A Saudi fighter pilot was rescued by US forces after a technical failure downed his F-15S Eagle in March 2015.
Bahraini Fighter Strength
With the loss of the jet today, the RBAF’s combat strength is down to 24 fighter aircraft: 24 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 40s and eight Northrop F-5E/F Tigers. The Bahraini fighter wing operates from Isa Airbase, with 1st and 2nd Fighter Squadron flying the F-16s, and 6th Fighter Squadron operating the Tiger.
Aging Bahraini F-16s
Just in August this year the Royal Bahraini Air Force filed for follow-on support from the US. “The RBAF’s F-16s are aging and periodic maintenance is becoming increasingly expensive,” the US Ministry of Defense wrote to the US Senate while commenting on the proposed deal worth US$ 150 million.
Operation Restoring Hope
Before Bahrain committed to the Saudi-led Operation Restoring Hope (called Operation Decisive Storm until 21 April 2015), its F-16s were contributing to Operation Inherent Resolve fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A F-16C of the Royal Bahraini Air Force (Image © Bahraini Ministry of Defence)