05:53 GMT +310 December 2019
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    US fighter jets , an F-15 (L) two F-16 (C) and an A-10, assigned to Spangdahlem Air Base (Germany), fly a training past a German castle 10 March 1999.

    Key Facts About NATO's Spangdahlem Air Base

    © AFP 2019 / SGT. ROSE REYNOLDS
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    On 8 October, an F16 fighter jet belonging to the US Air Force crashed in Germany not far from a US military base near the town of Spangdahlem.

    Spangdahlem Air Base is a NATO facility with the USAF as the primary tenant, located near the small German town of Spangdahlem in Rhineland-Palatinate, between the cities of Bitburg, Trier, and Wittlich.

    Spangdahlem is home to the 52d USAF Fighter Wing which maintains, deploys and employs 24 Lockheed Martin Block 50 F-16CM/DMs.

    The squadron performs tasks in conflict situations – including so-called Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD) missions, as well as Wild Weasel – destroying the radar and Surface-to-Air Missile installations of enemy air defence systems.

    In addition, Spangdahlem Air Base supports cargo traffic as part of its airlift mission.

    A reported 4000 US military personnel, 1000 civilians and approximately the same number of family members are working at the base as well as an additional 800 German nationals.

    The airbase was constructed between 1951-1953 by the French military. In the early 90s, it was transferred to the US and completed by the Americans.

    Accidents near the Spangdahlem Air Base

    On 14 September 2006, near the airbase, an F-16 fighter crashed, hitting a pillar during a flight. The pilot ejected and survived.

    On 1 April 2011, a USAF Fairchild A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft crashed 25 kilometres from the base. The pilot escaped by ejecting the aircraft.

    On 11 August 2015, an F-16 of the 480th Fighter Squadron crashed during a training flight from Spangdahlem Air Base to Grafenwoehr Training Area (GTA) located near Grafenwöhr, Bavaria, Germany. The aircraft crashed into the forest and the pilot escaped. The accident was recognised as having been caused by vehicle defects.

    Tags:
    plane crash, F16, NATO, US Air Force, Germany
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