Spanish fighter jet accidentally fires missile over Estonia

A Eurofighter Typhoon like this one mistakenly fired a missile in Estonian airspace a NATO official says

A Eurofighter Typhoon like this one mistakenly fired a missile in Estonian airspace a NATO official says

Estonia's military says it is looking for the remains of a missile a Spanish fighter jet accidentally fired while conducting drills in the air space of the Baltic NATO ally.

A Eurofighter Typhoon from the Spanish Air Force accidentally launched an AMRAAM air-to-air missile in a practice area in southern Estonia on Tuesday. "The defence ministry has opened an investigation to clarify the exact cause of the incident", it added.

The air to air missile was launched by a Spanish plane, a Eurofighter Typhoon 2000.

"I have ordered a suspension of all military sorties [by the Spanish jets] until the situation is resolved", the Estonian Defense Minister Juri Luik said, as cited by the national ERR broadcaster.

The biggest goal of the mission is to prevent or intercept any unauthorised incursion into the airspace of one of the Baltic states - carried out mostly by Russian aircrafts, which enter the space nearly regularly. ERR reports that the Portuguese Air Force will take Spain's place as part of the mission for the time being.

"The most important thing is to ensure safety and find out what happened, together with our allies", Luik said, commenting on his decision.

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Authorities said the last presumed location of the missile was 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of the Estonian town of Tartu, some 60 kilometres (37.2 miles) from the Russian border.

"The air-to-air missile has not hit any aircraft".

Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas said on Facebook "thank God" there were "no human casualties" due to this "startling incident", which he called "extremely regrettable".

The Spanish jets are based in Lithuania as part of the Baltic Air Policing mission that was established in 2004 to assist Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania who have no airborne air defence capability of their own.

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