F-16 fighter jet (archive)
F-16 fighter jet (archive) Reuters

An F-16 fighter jet operated by the Dutch air force was forced to make an emergency landing after it was hit by its own machine gun fire in a training accident.

According to a report by Military Times this week, the incident occurred in January, when a Royal Netherlands Air Force-operated F-16 fighter jet was engaged in a training exercise over the Netherlands.

The pilot of the fighter managed to score a direct hit on his own plane after he fired the jet’s 20mm M61 Vulcan rotary cannon, a Gatling gun-style weapon mounted on a wide-variety of US-built fighter aircraft.

After opening fire, the plane suffered at least one direct hit, Dutch military officials say, causing “considerable damage”, Dutch state media reported.

At least one round cut through the F-16’s exterior, and fragments of the 20mm ammunition were even found inside the plane’s single engine.

Immediately after opening fire, the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing at Leeuwarden Air Base.

“This is a serious incident," said Wim Bagerbos, the Netherlands Department of Defense inspector general.

“We therefore want to fully investigate what happened and how we would be able to avoid this in future.”