MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — An F-16CJ assigned to the 14th Fighter Squadron here dropped a 2,000-pound concrete munition in the Pacific Ocean on Thursday morning after the inert bomb failed to release during a routine training mission, base officials reported Thursday.
The pilot, who wasn’t identified, was on a mission over Draughn Range about 15 miles northeast of the base when the malfunction occurred. He continued flying and jettisoned the munition in international waters about 15 miles east of the training range at 9:15 a.m., according to a base news release.
“That’s a safety-first approach” to avoid injury and property damage, said base spokesman Capt. John Redfield. The pilot made sure “to get away from populated areas and also checked to make sure there were no fishing boats or any other vessels out there.”
The plane and pilot safely returned to base, officials said. The 35th Fighter Wing is investigating the incident. “Procedures are constantly reviewed by the U.S. Air Force,” base officials emphasized in the release, “to ensure operations are as safe as possible while also maintaining combat readiness of our pilots and aircraft.”