A multi-million-pound fighter jet exploded and another was damaged when a mechanic accidentally opened fire from a third plane during maintenance، Daily Mail reported.
The F-16 Falcon jet was destroyed in the blaze as it was parked at a military base in Belgium and the second plane sitting next to it suffered fire damage from the on-board Gatling cannon.
Two technicians working on the Belgian Air Force stealth planes were said to have been injured in the incident at the Florennes air base، 60 miles south of Brussels، on Thursday afternoon.
It is understood maintenance staff were repairing the F-16 which was parked in a hangar near the control tower، just out of sight of the third jet، when the volley of shots was accidentally fired. The shots came from the 20mm Gatling guns with six cannons capable of firing 6،000 shots per minute which are the formidable fighting machine's standard weapons.
That aircraft had just been refuelled and along with the other damaged jet، was being prepared for a training mission when one jet was blasted with bullets.
Both technicians were said to have suffered from hearing problems as a result of the accident and not burn injures، according to Sudinfo.
A rescue operation was launched and huge plumes of black smoke was seen coming from the air base for miles around after the several explosions were heard.
Around 30 firefighters including civilian officers reportedly raced to the scene along with ambulances and other emergency workers.
The exploded war plane، which is capable of travelling at supersonic speeds، was said to have been filled with around 10،000 litres of highly explosive kerosene fuel.
Colonel Didier Polome، who flew back from the Baltic where Belgian F-16s are policing NATO's frontier with Russia، said: 'You can't help thinking of what a disaster this could have been.' Boris Morenville، head of the defence trade union، said it did not appear to be a deliberate act or a terrorist incident.
He told Belgian broadcaster RTL Info:'We may be thinking about human fault or technical failure، but in any case we have not yet been warned of an intentional act.'
The Belgian Air Force tweeted in both French and Flemish shortly after the fire: 'On October 11، 2018، at approximately 2:10 pm، a fire broke out during maintenance work on an F-16 on the Florennes Base. The plane burned. A second aircraft suffered collateral damage.'
Belgium's Federal Prosecutor's Office and the Ministry of Defence's (MoD's) Aviation Safety Directorate are said to be investigating the circumstances around the destruction of the jet.
The air base at Florennes، in the French-speaking southern half of the country، is home to the Belgian air force's 2nd Tactical Wing. It houses two squadrons and 20 of the F-16 fighter jets، according to the Belgian website sudinfo.be.
The base was previously home to NATO's Tactical Leadership Programme but it moved to Albacete in Spain in 2009.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon، first developed for the US Air Force، has been sold to 28 military forces around the world.
The 49-foot long warplane، manufactured by Lockheed Martin، can travel at 1،500mph - faster than Mach 2.
Belgium has 60 of the aircraft، of which 48 are assigned to NATO، according to the country's defence ministry.