A fuel tank fell from a Turkish Air Force fighter jet, damaging several cars in the city of Ankara. Thankfully, no injuries were reported.
This incident appears to have taken place on Monday the 4th of September. Images and video on social media first appeared to show an object falling from the sky, between buildings in Ankara, the Turkish capital.
Other pictures showed the aftermath. It appears that a Turkish Fighter lost one of its drop tanks over the city. The aircraft was an F-4E fighter. Most operators of these jets around the world have now retired them. But small numbers of upgraded F-4s remain in service with the air forces of Greece, South Korea, and Turkey. Iran is currently the biggest operator of the type.
Turkish Fighter Jet Was On Display?
Most external tanks for military jets are designed to be jettisonable, if necessary. The F-4 Phantom’s tanks are designed in this way. But in this incident, it is unclear if the crew of the Turkish fighter dropped the tank intentionally, or if this tank or their aircraft suffered a malfunction.
It is also not clear if this was a normal external fuel tank. This particular aircraft had just been on display at TEKNOFEST, a technology festival. It appears that the Turkish fighter jet dropped its fuel tank as it departed from Etimesgut Air Base (LTAD), just west of Ankara, heading for Eskişehir Air Base (LTBI).
Photos and video show that the tank caused damage to at least three cars. Again, it is fortunate that these cars were in a parking lot, with no people on board. Turkey originally intended to retire its upgraded F-4E Phantoms in 2020. But cutbacks and difficulties in finding suitable replacements mean that the Turkish Air Force now plans to retire this fighter type a decade later.