That Time Feral Hogs Took Down Fighter Jets

That Time Feral Hogs Took Down Fighter Jets

The General Dynamics F-16 is the pride of the United States Air Force and the bane of its enemies around the world. The aptly named Fighting Falcon can soar at speeds of up to Mach 2 at 40,000 feet. This master of the skies is equipped with an arsenal of sophisticated weapons including a 20mm Vulcan cannon along with a diverse array of payloads to counter threats in the sky and on the ground, making it a terror to any enemy aircraft unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of its wrath.

But who would have thought that such a marvel of modern technology could be destroyed by a few feral hogs? Yet, on two separate occasions, the F-16 fell victim to these seemingly innocuous creatures.

The first time it happened was in 1987. A Pakistani Air Force F16 stationed at Sargodha Air Base had been cleared for takeoff, but nobody told that to the wild boar that came sprinting across the runway. The $18 million fighter jet careened into the animal at about 150mph, striking it with its nose cone. In the resulting mayhem, the F-16 caught fire, forcing the pilot to eject before the aircraft was engulfed in flames. After the remains of the pig were scraped off the runway and destroyed, the Minister of Defense ordered the election of a 6 foot high wall to separate the airfield from the surrounding scrubland where the pigs lived.

If you’re thinking that this kind of debacle can only happen to foreign militaries who build their bases in the middle of nowhere surrounded by untamed wilderness, the same thing happened at Jacksonville International Airport. The very next year after the Pakistani incident, Lieutenant Colonel Sam Carter of the Florida Air National Guard was returning to base from a training flight in his F-16. Right as the aircraft made its descent, two wild hogs casually strolled onto the runway. LTC Carter slammed into the two pigs and sheared his left landing gear, which made his aircraft careen off of the runway, travel through a ditch, become airborne once again, and finally crash into a grove of pine saplings. Thankfully, LTC Carter was able to eject and managed to walk away with some minor bruising. The pigs could not walk at all. The lieutenant colonel refused to accept the loss of his aircraft to a couple of hogs and acting in his capacity as deputy chief of maintenance, ordered his men to rebuild his F16. To this day, it remains one of the few F-16s that was able to take the skies after crashing.

It should be obvious after reading this that feral hogs are a menace when left unchecked. In terms of traffic disruptions and vehicle collisions, wild pigs cost Americans $36 million a year in medical and collision repair bills, especially when they charge across roads and intersections without warning.

The solution to such chaos lies in widespread hog culling, particularly in the American South where these creatures run rampant. Hunters keen to thin their numbers would do well to arm themselves with rapid-fire semi-automatic rifles and optics that promise precision and durability, such as Sightmark’s Presidio 3-18x50 with built-in zero stops and long-range clarity. For those venturing out after dark, digital night vision and thermal optics from the Wraith family provide the perfect tools for engaging wild pigs under cover of night.

The tales of F-16s meeting their untimely demise at the hands (or rather, hooves) of feral hogs serve as cautionary reminders of the unexpected challenges that can arise from the random encounters we might have with these rapacious beasts, even for the most advanced military technology. These incidents highlight the need for vigilance and proactive measures to mitigate the risks posed by wildlife in and around human settlements. Therefore, it is imperative to prioritize measures aimed at reducing feral hog populations to safeguard both human lives and valuable assets. By implementing effective hog control strategies, we can mitigate the threat they pose to public safety, ensuring a safer and more secure environment for all.


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To browse the Wraith line of digital night vision, click here.

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1 comment

Permanent runway walker


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