Joined: May 22, 2003 Posts: 23090 Location: NSW, Australia XP: 1,246,622
Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:08 am Post subject: EPIC FAIL: US drops bombs on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
Two US fighter jets have dropped four unarmed bombs in Australia's World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef marine park after a training exercise went wrong.
The AV-8B Harrier jets took off from the aircraft carrier USS Bonhomme Richard and each released an inert bomb and an unarmed explosive bomb off the coast of Queensland, the US 7th Fleet said in a statement on Saturday.
The four bombs, weighing a total 1.8 metric tons (4,000 pounds), were dropped in more than 50 meters (164 feet) of water away from coral that was supposed to have minimized possible damage to the reef, the statement said. Each Harrier jet dropped two 227-kilo bombs: one BDU 45 and one High Explosive GBU 12. None of the bombs exploded as the BDU 45s are inert and the GBU 12s were unarmed when released.
The training mission went gone wrong as the jets from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit were originally told to drop the bombs at the Townshend Island bombing range. That plan was aborted after the controllers said the area was not clear of hazards.
The pilots then went ahead with an emergency jettison as they were not allowed to land with bombs on board and both were low on fuel, the navy said.
The US Navy and Australian authorities are now investigating the incident.
U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II jets participate in the "Eager Lion" military exercises at Al Quweira near Aqaba city, 290 km (180 miles) south of Amman, June 19, 2013.(Reuters / Muhammad Hamed)
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