104th Fighter Wing inadvertently releases flares over Southern New Hampshire

  • Published
Media Advisory
Release No. 16-21
Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey, Public Affairs Specialist
Lt. Col. Brenda Hendricksen, Public Affairs Officer
413-568-9151 ext. 698-1299 or ext. 698-1800
Cell: (619) 665-4252

September 13, 2016

104th Fighter Wing inadvertently releases flares over Southern New Hampshire
This morning, while conducting an unscheduled alert exercise, an F-15C flying out of Barnes Air National Guard Base, Westfield Mass. released a total of 13 countermeasure flares during a 4-minute period over the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire.

This occurred while the F-15 was intercepting another aircraft in support of a homeland defense exercise.

The flares were dispensed at an altitude of approximately 5,000 feet above ground level.  These countermeasures are designed to provide a short, intense heat source and burn out well before reaching the surface.  In these instances, it is common for on-lookers to perceive these flares as having "appeared to explode like fireworks in the air" due to how these countermeasures are expended from the aircraft.  At this altitude, there was never any risk to personnel or property on the ground and  posed no threat to the public.  Flares are used as a countermeasure during Air-to-Air combat operations. 

After completion of the mission and subsequent debrief, it was determined that pilot-error was the cause of the inadvertent flare discharge.

The Wing alert exercises are normally publicized through media channels. In this case, the exercise was unannounced to test the combat readiness of the unit.  The 104FW often does not have the luxury of advance notice, however, when possible, we will share as much information as we can.  

We would appreciate your help in sharing this news with the local residents to help alleviate their concerns.  Thank you for your continued support.

The 104th Fighter Wing is equipped with the F-15 Eagle. One mission of the 104th is Aerospace Control Alert (ACA), providing armed fighters ready to scramble in a moment's notice to protect the Northeast from any airborne threat. The unit is responsible for protecting a quarter of the nation's population and one third of the Gross Domestic Product.