March 21, 2009:
In Afghanistan, a Russian transport taxied too close to four Belgian F-16 fighters. The engine exhaust blew sand and rocks into the engines of the F-16s, destroying the engines in three of the fighters. New engines had to be flown in to replace the damaged ones. The F110 engine used in the F-16 costs about $5 million each, but the damaged ones can be rebuilt for less than that. Belgium sent the four F-16s to Afghanistan last September. The 19 ton F-16 can also function as a bomber and ground attack aircraft, and can carry four tons of bombs and missiles.