According to a report by Italian newswire Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata, an American F-16 fighter jet has gone down in the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Italy. The jet was flying in formation with other jets from the Aviano Air Base in the Provence of Pordenone, Italy. The formation was in the process of a training activity.
According to the report, the plane is still officially missing. There is no word yet on the safety of the pilot.
The map below shows the location of Aviano Air Base:
The base has been active since 1955 and has served as a strategic point for many cooperative military operations since its opening.
Some insiders have said that F-16 crashes are increasing in number. If this trend continues, it could have an impact in the number of F-16's in operation today. Word of these jets crashing certainly isn't new--one such jet went down over Turkey on its way to patrol Iraq last year. The jet was in a no-fly zone when it went down.
Below is a chart depicting the "flight mishap" history for F-16's since their introduction in 1975. The same is included for the F-15 jet below that. Through this information it's been determined that F-16's go down about 10 times per year, or 3.5 times for every 100,000 flight hours. This rate is significantly less for the F-15.
F-16's are notoriously failure-prone because of their single, small engine. If this lone engine fails, the jet has nowhere to go but down. Jets that have more than one engine are much less likely to fail.