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A US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt accidentally dropped a training weapon on Korea, and no one knows where it went

  • A US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt accidentally dropped an apparent training munition during a flight over South Korea earlier this month, Stars and Stripes first reported Tuesday.
  • US and South Korean military personnel searched for three days but came up empty handed. They assessed that the inert munition probably did not pose a threat to anyone given the likely point of impact.
  • On two separate occasions last year, A-10s accidentally released munitions over the US, first in Florida and again in Arizona.
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A US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II accidentally dropped a training weapon during a flight over South Korea, and no one knows exactly where it went, Stars and Stripes first reported Tuesday.

The A-10 "inadvertently" released an "unguided non-explosive projectile" during an Oct. 13 flight over a "remote off-range area," a spokesman for the 51st Fighter Wing told Task & Purpose. The aircraft was assigned to the 25th Fighter Squadron at Osan Air Base.

It is unclear what type of training munition was released.

US and South Korean military personnel searched for the inert training munition for three days before calling off the search. They assessed that "there was not a significant threat to anyone" given the terrain in the area where the weapon is believed to have landed, a fighter wing spokesman told Stars and Stripes.

The incident is reportedly under investigation and additional safety measures were put in place to prevent a repeat.

The US Air Force has had several problems with its A-10s accidentally releasing munitions during training. Last year, there were two such incidents in the US.

In July 2019, a Thunderbolt collided with a bird over Florida, causing it to inadvertently release three training munitions over the state. The Moody Air Force Base aircraft dropped three BDU-33s, which are 25-pound non-explosive training munitions used to simulate 500-pound M1a-82 bombs.

Then in September of last year, a Davis-Monthan Air Force Base A-10 unintentionally fired off a M-156 rocket outside of the designated firing range.

Fortunately, in each of the three incidents, there were no reported injuries or damages.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II, nicknamed "Warthog," was built for close air support and has been in service since the early 1970s.

While the A-10 carries a variety of munitions on its 11 hardpoints, it is most famous for its forward 30 mm GAU-8/A Avenger rotary cannon that can fire at a rate of just under 4,000 rounds per minute. The weapon makes a loud "BRRRRT" sound when fired.

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