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Air Force releases cockpit tapes of F-16 shootdown, rescue

April 26, 2000
Web posted at: 11:16 p.m. EDT (0316 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Nearly a year after the conflict, the U.S. Air Force has released cockpit tapes that captured the shootdown and rescue of an F-16 pilot over Serbia on May 2, 1999, at the height of NATO's air war against Yugoslavia.

 VIDEO
VideoWatch cockpit video of an F-16 shot down and pilot rescue during the NATO air strikes last year against Yugoslavia.
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The Air Force will not identify the pilot, except by his call sign "Hammer 34."

The first of the two tapes was recorded by another F-16 pilot who was part of the four-plane formation that was attacking targets about 25 miles southwest of Belgrade.

The tape shows what the pilot of that fighter (designated Hammer 31) is seeing through his heads-up display -- a video screen in his cockpit -- as he monitors voice transmissions from the F-16 which has been hit by shrapnel from a surface-to-air missile.

Late in the recording, which is from the fighter plane's infrared targeting system, three rescue helicopters show up as white blobs as they crisscross the night sky searching for the pilot.

Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre contributed to this report.



RELATED SITES:
Official Web Site of the U. S. Air Force

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