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French air-to-air missile with a warhead was sent as civilian mail to Florida

WASHINGTON, (BM) – A French Matra 530 air-to-air missile has been found at the Lakeland Linder civil airport in Florida, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence 24. It has not yet been disclosed how it was possible that the actual missile with a warhead could have been sent as a civil shipment to a civil airport to a private company.

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According to the information provided by the American media, a French Matra 530 air-to-air missile was found in one of the parcels at the civilian Lakeland Linder airport in Florida. The 6th EOD team from the base was immediately sent to the find. MacDill aviation in Tampa.

Military specialists loaded the missile onto a military truck and transported it to military warehouses, where it will be awaiting the results of the investigation and further orders.

So far it is known that the Matra 530 airborne rocket was sent to the American private company Draken International. The company previously won an ADAIR (Adversary Air) contract, related primarily to the provision of fighter planes for the US Air Force, adapted to act as adversaries in mock air combat.

To this end, Draken International had to create a fleet of aircraft, currently based mainly on French Mirage F1M fighters, sourced from the Spanish Air Force.

All the aforementioned aircraft have been thoroughly renovated and modified, and the previous modernization, to the F1M version, underwent their service in the Spanish Air Force in the 1990s. The rockets found at the Lakeland Linder airport could therefore theoretically be intended for these aircraft.

In fact, it was a team of specialists at Draken International that detected “an object with suspicious signs indicating it may be explosive” in one of the shipments. This was indicated by red and yellow stripes painted on the container, which normally means that the missile inside has both an explosive warhead and a rocket engine.

However, the Americans did not disclose whether the contents of the parcel were as described. However, an alarm was immediately raised and the entire south-eastern side of the airport was evacuated for several hours – until the arrival of the EOD team from Tampa.

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So far, Draken has taken full responsibility for the incident. The official statement stated that “by observing the safety rules for explosives consisting in exposing a minimum number of people to a potential explosion hazard for a minimum period of time, we decided to evacuate the facility, inform our local tenants and contact the appropriate authorities as soon as possible.

The authorities reacted quickly, assessed the situation and followed proven protocols. Draken International takes its role seriously in all the communities in which we operate and have years of operational procedures to ensure that we operate safely and reliably every day. ”

As a reminder, the Draken International company has about a hundred tactical combat aircraft in its stock, largely modernized to a level close to the fourth generation. Most of them are stationed on a daily basis in the southern part of Lakeland Linder regional airport in Lakeland, Florida.

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