Let's suppose you have a 20mm sniper rifle and shoot the internal fuel tank of an F-16 coming directly towards you. What would happen ?

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    $\begingroup$ A 20mm sniper rifle? Well, you would need your shoulder reconstructed, if the F-16 flying into you didn't cause you significantly more damage than that. And there would be a hole in the fuel tank. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ Yes they exist Anzio 20mm and you can simply mount them on the balcony rails and connect stock of it to an hook on the roof (But it will hard again since mounting them doesnt eliminate shoulder pain...) $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ ... what is this supposed to accomplish? self sealing fuel tanks and generally godly damage control by the F-16's computers eliminates any critical damage caused by ripping through control surfaces. Just as @TomMcW says, if you were such a bad shot that you missed the fuel tanks and hit the pilot, I'm pretty sure you'd be the unluckiest and at the same time stupidest 'sniper' in the world. And you'd destroy the aircraft. $\endgroup$
    – Jihyun
    Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


Depends on where it hit the airplane and what other systems were subsequently damaged. A typical rifle bullet will cut through the aluminum structure of an aircraft like a knife through butter. If it was a clean shot where the bullet penetrated the tank and exited the aircraft, hitting nothing else, it would result in minor damage and a small fuel leak, quickly sealed by the tank liner. If the round hit major structural members on its path, this could structurally compromise the aircraft. Most dangerous would be a hit where the bullet penetrated the tank, then exited and pierced the hot section of the engine. This would allow hot exhaust gases to escape the engine and could easily cut into the fuel tanks like a blowtorch, causing internal fires and possibly the loss of the airframe.

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    $\begingroup$ I'd say most dangerous would be if the bullet penetrated the pilot $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 17:32
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    $\begingroup$ @TomMcW That thing REALLY happened, when Japanese attacked an another aircraft carrier, an US pilot ejected from his seat and shot the Japanese pilot Owen J. Baggett And something like that will never happen again (Unless you are playing BF3 youtube.com/watch?v=LrOIgxQ--Tc ) $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ It’s happened. The majority of kills from WWI are a result of that. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 18:41

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