According to Dutch state broadcaster NOS, an F-16 was hit by its own bullet(s) in a training exercise:

De F-16 die in januari aanzienlijke schade opliep tijdens een oefening boven Vlieland blijkt geraakt te zijn door zijn eigen munitie.

My translation:

The F-16 that in January suffered considerable damage during a training exercise above Vlieland turns out to have been hit by its own ammunition.

They also added a picture of the damage:

enter image description here Image attribution: originally by Inspectie Veiligheid Defensie, taken from nos.nl.

Comparing that picture with the following stock photo, it looks to me like the bullet that caused the damage entered from the front. Of course it could also be due to the aircraft flying at a high velocity.

enter image description here Image attribution: "F-16 Cockpit (J-513)" by Gerard van der Schaaf // CC BY 2.0

Is this unprecedented? Or are there any records of other F-16 jets getting hit by or collide with their own bullets?

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    $\begingroup$ There's a question here somewhere about planes shooting themselves down. Unfortunately, I can't find it. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 13:54
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    $\begingroup$ @FreeMan this answer to a broader question might be what you're thinking of. Also, this question, but it's about missiles specifically. $\endgroup$
    – JJJ
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 13:56
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    $\begingroup$ No, I saw both of those. I was pretty certain that there was a question about a fighter being able to shoot itself down. Of course, that was a more general question and you're specifically asking if an F16 has ever done that before. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ From what I understand the aircraft fired its cannon while in a steep turn, and some of the shells impacted the fuselage as a result. I've heard of it happening before but can't remember where. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 3:49

1 Answer 1


I can find no record of an F-16 shooting itself down prior to the Dutch incident. There is certainly nothing on the wikipedia page for aircraft shootdowns or anywhere else I can find.

However its not the first aircraft to manage the feat. In 1956 a US Navy F-11 Tiger became the first aircraft to shoot itself down, whilst testing its cannons on a test flight. The pilot fired a long burst of cannon fire then entered a shallow dive and hit the afterburner, shortly after the aircraft was hit by its own bullets.


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