Monday, April 13, 2009

Report: Faulty release caused dummy bomb drop

By Bruce Rolfsen - Staff writer
Air Force Times
Posted : Saturday Apr 11, 2009 16:51:26 EDT

A practice bomb that fell off a fighter and damaged a pick-up truck just outside of Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., was released late by a malfunctioning bomb release system, a safety investigation concluded.

The Air Force declined to release the report, but provided Air Force Times with a short summary Monday.

On Oct. 15, an A-10 Thunderbolt was preparing to land at Nellis when a 25-pound BDU-33 bomb fell off the jet, the inquiry concluded. The non-explosive bomb struck the ground within Nellis' boundary and broke apart on impact. Shrapnel flew several hundred feet and outside the base; at least one piece struck a pickup truck on Las Vegas Boulevard North, but did not injure anyone.

The safety investigation found that the A-10 pilot thought he had released the bomb while over a training area far from Nellis. There were no warnings indicating that the bomb had not dropped away. It finally fell off as the plane approached Nellis.

The Nellis accident was at least the third time in two years that a practice bomb unintentionally fell off an Air Force fighter. In March 2008, a BDU-33 fell from an F-16 over Tulsa, Okla., striking an apartment building. In January 2007, a training bomb on an A-10 fell into a South Korean factory. No injuries resulted from either accident.


Related info:

Training bomb strikes vehicle near Nellis

10/16/2008 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFNS) -- A training weapon fell from an Air Force aircraft on a training mission and struck a vehicle traveling on a road adjacent to the base Oct. 15, said Nellis Air Force Base officials.

The weapon, a 25-pound bomb dummy unit-33, landed near a mobility warehouse on the base before bouncing into the road and striking a civilian vehicle.

The driver was not hurt.

"The BDU-33 did not fall directly from the sky and onto Las Vegas Boulevard," said Col. Dave Belote, the 99th Air Base Wing commander. "It impacted on Nellis AFB proper and then bounced 700 to 800 feet and made impact with the truck."

Nellis AFB security forces Airmen and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officials responded to the scene.

The training bomb is used to simulate the ballistics of real air-to-ground weapons and does not carry explosives. Instead, it carries a small smoke charge used to mark the device's impact point.

Though no one was injured in the incident, base officials said they will take more precautions to prevent accidents like this in the future.

"We take this incident very seriously," said Brig. Gen. Russell J. Handy, the 57th Wing commander. "The safety of our Airmen and our neighbors here is of the utmost concern to us and we're very, very thankful no one was injured."

Nellis AFB personnel and Las Vegas police are jointly investigating the incident.


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