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Friday, April 29, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

UAE F-16, deployed for Libya, crashes in Italy

LONDON — The United Arab Emirates has lost its first advanced U.S.-origin fighter-jet.


Officials said the UAE Air Force lost an F-16 multi-role fighter as part of the NATO operation over Libya. They said the Block 60 aircraft crashed on April 27 at an air base in Italy.

"The plane was not on a mission over Libya," an official said.

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This marked the first loss of the F-16 by the UAE Air Force. In 2010, the Air Force received 80 F-16 Block 60 aircraft as part of a $6.8 billion deal with Lockheed Martin, Middle East Newsline reported.

The UAE has contributed six F-16s and six French-origin Mirage 2000 fighters for the NATO no-fly zone over Libya. This marked the first UAE combat mission of the F-16s. Qatar has also been participating in the mission.

The F-16 pilot ejected before the crash, which took place upon landing at Italy's Sigonella Air Base. The pilot was said to have flown from another Italian base at Decimomannu.

NATO suspended operations at Sigonella after the crash. Officials said the base was expected to reopen imminently amid an investigation of the accident.

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