NATO Jet Suffers Ash Damage
Official: Ash cloud will soon affect military readiness
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2010 4:50 AM CDT
The F-16 suffered a buildup of molten glass in its engine after flying through a cloud of volcanic ash, according to the US official.   (Wikipedia)

(Newser) – The skies over Europe are still dangerous for aircraft despite the airlines' successful test flights, according to a senior US official. A NATO F-16 fighter jet that flew through the ash cloud over Europe during a patrol suffered engine damage due to a buildup of molten glass, the official tells Reuters. Military exercises have been scaled back and the ash will soon have a serious impact on military readiness, the official warns.

Finnish authorities say one of their fighter jets also suffered significant damage after a short test flight late last week. NATO's secretary-general, however, contradicted the US official and denied that the ash cloud was having any effect on military capabilities. "I can assure you that the Icelandic volcano does not have any effect on our operations, nor our territorial defense of the allied member states," he said.