HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND
7115 South Boundary Boulevard
MacDill AFB, Fla. 33621-5101
Phone: (813) 827-5894; FAX: (813) 827-2211; DSN 651-5894
May 14, 2004
Release Number: 04-05-36
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PATRIOT MISSILE, TORNADO FRIENDLY FIRE INVESTIGATION COMPLETED
MacDill AFB - The investigation into the March 22, 2003 friendly fire incident between a U.S. Patriot missile system and a British Royal Air Force aircraft is complete.
While there was no single specific finding of fault, the investigation did reveal several contributing factors that led to the tragic accidental downing of the British Tornado and death of two British servicemembers. Among those factors was a failure in the aircraft's Interrogation Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder, which 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.
In addition to the investigation ordered by U.S. Central Command, an investigation was also simultaneously conducted by the British Royal Air Force, as well as a US Army Safety Board investigation. The investigation determined that the incident did not occur due to negligence on the part of the Patriot Missile battery personnel, and therefore no charges have been filed nor has any disciplinary action been taken against any service members.
U.S. Central Command regrets the loss of life resulting from this tragic incident.
Media interested in obtaining investigation specifics can contact US Central Command Public Affairs.
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