The fuel tank of a Turkish F-4 fighter crashes onto parked cars in Ankara

On September 4, 2023, an external fuel tank of an F-4 fighter jet belonging to the Turkish Air Force unexpectedly fell on parked vehicles in an open car park. The aircraft was flying from Istanbul Atat├╝rk International Airport (ISL) to Eski┼čehir Air Base (ESK), home of the 1st Main Jet Base Command. For an unknown reason, the fuel tank was released over a parking lot belonging to the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) in Ankara.

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Pictures shared on social media show at least three damaged cars. Fortunately, there were no casualties or injuries in the incident. The Turkish Ministry of Defense said in a statement that a detailed technical investigation on the subject is ongoing.

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The F-4 Phantom has long been the backbone of the Turkish Air Force fighter fleet, with the first aircraft delivered in 1974. Around 30 fighters remain in the Turkish inventory, having been modernized by Israel to the F-4E 2020 Terminator standard in the early 2000s. After being kicked from the F-35 program and struggling to modernize or expand its existing fleet of F-16 fighters, Turkey postponed the retirement date of the F-4 from the early 2020s until 2030.

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This incident has raised concerns about the safety of aging military aircraft and their potential impact on civilian populations. It remains to be seen what measures will be taken to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

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