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American Forces Press Service

Probe Says Tornado Jet Downed in 'Perceived Self-Defense'

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2004 - A U.S. Patriot missile crew in Iraq downed a British Royal Air Force Tornado attack fighter jet in "perceived self-defense," U.S. Central Command's investigation of the March 22, 2003, incident has concluded.

Two British airmen died in the accident. CENTCOM officials said a failure in the aircraft's "Interrogation Friend or Foe" transponder resulted in the Patriot missile system misidentifying the Tornado.

"The investigation board determined that the Patriot crew fired in perceived self-defense, in accordance with existing procedures and rules of engagement," according to a CENTCOM news release.

Investigators found no negligence on the part of the Patriot crew, the news release said, and no one has been charged or disciplined.

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