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French Mirage 2000 versus Lithuanian Albatros L-39: winning the Mirage

one of the Lithuanian L-39s (credit: Lithuanian Ministry of Defence)

(BRUSSELS2) A French Mirage 2000 encountered an unusual bird in mid-flight over Lithuania, while carrying out a surveillance patrol for NATO in the person of a Lithuanian fighter plane, an Albatros L -39 ZA of the Zokniai base used for pilot training. The incident occurred in the vicinity of Šiauliai in northern Lithuania.

The circumstances are not yet very clear. An investigation is underway, it is specified on the Lithuanian side. The two planes participated together in training which was scheduled (2 Mirage 2000Cs were involved, it is said on the French side). The collision occurred in the air (the Lithuanian pilot lost control of his plane, according to the French side).

The Mirage 2000 managed to land safely but not without damage, particularly to its stabilizer. But not the Lithuanian L-39 which crashed to the ground in the middle of the forest, near Lake Rėkyva (see photo). “ In order to avoid populated areas, the pilot did what he could to direct the aircraft towards a non-residential area to avoid any civilian damage. » specified the Lithuanian Chief of Staff, Ltt General Arvydas Pocius. Both pilots managed to eject and were recovered safely by a helicopter search and rescue Mi-8 Lithuanian forces, he confirmed.

crash site (credit: Lithuanian Ministry of Defence)

French planes participate in surveillance of the skies of the three Baltic countries, a mission carried out by several NATO countries in turn. They are just finishing their mission these days and will be replaced on September 2 by Danish F-16s.

(updated Wed. Aug. 31 morning with some details)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).