A Dutch Air Force F-16 had a close encounter with its own cannon shells in January.

Why guns on a high heeled jet are possibly a less than perfect weapon the episode reflects. The Vulcan is capable of shooting over 6,000 shots per minute, but its magazine carries only 511 rounds–only enough for five minutes of fury. The rounds have a muzzle speed of 3,450 ft per second (1050 meters per second). That is speed boosted by the aircraft but atmospheric drag slows the shells down eventually. And maneuvers in the wrong manner after firing the cannon and if a pilot accelerates, the aircraft could be suddenly reunited with its departed rounds.
Enlarge / A Dutch Air Force F-16 had a close encounter with its cannon shells in January. (credit: Getty Images)

The Netherlands’ Defense Safety Inspection Agency (Inspectie Veiligheid Defensie) is investigating an incident during a January military exercise where a Dutch Air Force F-16 was ruined by live fire by a 20-millimeter cannon–its very own 20-millimeter cannon. At least one round fired out of the aircraft’s M61A1 Vulcan Gatling gun struck the aircraft since it stopped at targets on the Dutch military’s Vliehors range on the island of Vlieland, according to a report in the Netherlands’ NOS news agency .

Two F-16s conducted shooting exercises . It appears that the aircraft caught up with all the rounds since it pulled out of its firing run, it fired. At least one of them hit both sides of the F-16’s fuselage, and parts of a round were ingested by the engine of the aircraft. The F-16’s pilot was able to land the aircraft safely.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs