Deadly Saudi Warplane Crash Brings Up Death Toll
A Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force F-15 fighter has crashed during a night training flight, killing the two pilots aboard, Pilot Major Fahd Abdullah Al-Zamel and Captain Terad Murayei Al-Shahrani. The advanced combat aircraft went down about 90 miles west of King Abdulaziz Airbase Air Base in the Eastern Province, according to the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation report.
The past year has been deadly for the Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force, as numerous crashes have brought about the deaths of highly trained pilots and the loss of expensive aircraft. In additon to nine Saudi pilots killed, a visiting French pilot also found his death in a training flight over Saudi Arabia.
Saudi officials reported that in November 2001, a military helicopter which was on a night training mission crashed, killing Pilot Captain Ghazi bin Ahmed Al-Asmari, Air Captain Saad bin Ali Al-Qarni, and Technical Chief Sergeant Faleh bin Muhammad Al-Aidi.
In July 2001, a British-made Tornado fighter on a training exercise crashed due to a technical fault, killing both of its pilots. The Tornado went down to the southwest of King Abdul Aziz air base in the Eastern Region, killing Pilot Captain Saad bin Mohammad Al Mezhar and Co-Pilot Mohammad bin Abdul Rahman Hazmi Al Subaiea. News agencies had reported that technical failure had also brought down another Saudi warplane in June but the two crew members escaped unharmed.
In March 2001, two other Saudi pilots were killed when their aircraft crashed due to a technical fault. The two men, Captain Nawaf bin Jijab bin Eidal-Otaibi and First Lieutenant Fayez bin Awadh bin Rajeh Al-Rouqi, were on a training mission in the Eastern Province, and were flying another one of the Royal Saudi Air Force’s Tornados.
In addition to the nine Saudi pilots who died in crashes over the past twelve months, a visiting French Air Force pilot who was training in Saudi Arabia was also killed earlier this year. The French-built Mirage 2000 that he was flying crashed after experiancing a technical failure 12 miles southeast of Prince Sultan Air Base in Alkharj in the Eastern Region.
Crashed Jet a Top Combat Plane
The F-15 Eagle is one of the most advanced fighter jets in the world, and is made by Boeing. It enjoys a widespread reputation for its immense combat capabilities. The Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force operates a large number of these combat aircraft, and Saudi pilots have used the F-15 in action on several occasions. In June 1984 Saudi F-15s engaged four intruding Iranian F-4s, each F-15 reportedly shooting down one intruding Iranian aircraft. In the 1991 Gulf war Saudi F-15s also participated in missions, and reportedly shot down several Iraqi Air Force combat planes.(www.albawaba.com)
Illustration credits BAC, USAF