The Spanish Eurofighter jet, which is part of NATO’s Baltic air-policing mission, fired the missile while carrying out an exercise with another Spanish Eurofighter and two French Mirage 2000 jets.
The air-to-air missile was fired “without causing any harm” and did not hit any aircraft, the Spanish defense ministry said in a statement. Following the accidental fire, the jets returned to an air base in northern Lithuania where they are based.
Searching for the missile
Estonia’s military is now scouring the area around where it was fired, as it is potentially still armed. The AMRAAM-type missile is supposed to self-destruct during such accidents, but the device may have landed on the ground instead.
The missile was carrying up to 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of explosives and was last located around 40 kilometers (24 miles) north of the Estonian city of Tartu.
Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas wrote on Facebook that there were “thank God no human casualties” and called the incident “extremely regrettable.”
Neither Estonia, Lithuania nor Latvia have fighter jets of their own, making them dependent on NATO partners for air security.
Spain’s Defense Ministry has opened an investigation to uncover how the Eurofighter jet could have accidentally fired the rocket.
rs/aw (AP, AFP, dpa)