Spain’s defense ministry has opened an investigation after one of its Eurofighter jets accidentally fired a missile in the skies over Estonia during a routine training mission.
“A Spanish Eurofighter based in Lithuania accidentally fired a missile without causing any harm,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the incident happened Tuesday, August 7, “in an area of southwest Estonia authorized for this type of exercise.”
“The air-to-air missile has not hit any aircraft. The defence ministry has opened an investigation to clarify the exact cause of the incident,” it added.
Two Spanish Eurofighter jets and two French Mirage 2000 jets were taking part in the training exercise, the ministry said. After the incident the Spanish jets returned to their base in Siauliai in northern Lithuania.
Estonia’s defense forces said in a statement the “AMRAAM type missile” was launched by the Spanish Eurofighter Typhoon 2000 at 15:44 near Pangod in the vicinity of Otepää and should have self-destructed, “but it is not ruled out that the missile landed on the ground.”
The military has launched a search for the missile or any remnants.
Six Spanish Eurofighters and approximately 130 personnel deployed to Siauliai in May, as part of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, which is currently led by Portugal. Four Portuguese Air Force F-16M jets and 90 personnel are deployed to Siauliai, and four French Mirage 2000-5 jets and 100 personnel are based in Ämari Air Base in Estonia.
With reporting from AFP. This post was updated on August 7 to include information from the Estonian military and background on the NATO mission.