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Eurofighter jet crashes at Spanish base, killing pilot

Source: Reuters - Mon, 9 Jun 2014 16:34 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Adds details on crash, pilot, background on Eurofighter)

MADRID, June 9 (Reuters) - A Spanish Eurofighter jet crashed on Monday just before landing at an air base near Seville shared with the United States, killing the pilot, the Defence Ministry said.

The accident happened adjacent to the runway of the Moron de la Frontera air base at around 2 p.m. (1200 GMT), a ministry statement said, and it was not yet clear what caused the crash.

The 30-year-old pilot was from Madrid and had logged 600 hours of experience flying the combat jet.

Eurofighters are built by British defence company BAE Systems, European aerospace group Airbus and Italy's Finmeccanica.

The accident was the third involving a Eurofighter in Spain in just under a decade, Spanish media reported.

A Saudi national died in a Eurofighter crash in 2010, also at the Moron base, just after taking off during a training flight with a Spanish co-pilot, who was injured.

There was also a previous accident with a Eurofighter prototype at another base in Spain, with no casualties, according to local media.

Spain agreed to acquire 87 Eurofighters just over a decade ago, and has an option to buy 16 more between 2003 and 2018, according to the Defence Ministry.

Makers of the Eurofighter have faced tough competition for overseas jet orders from manufacturers of rival models such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Saab, while also facing shrinking defence budgets in the United States and Europe. (Reporting by Raquel Castillo and Rodrigo de Miguel; Writing by Sarah White; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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