A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion surveillance aircraft suffered damage while flying in Afghanistan, after its countermeasure flare went off due to a systems malfunction.

The crew halted its assigned mission soon after the accident and landed safely at Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

A technical and air safety investigation has been undertaken by the RAAF to assess the damage caused to the airframe.

The RAAF operates two AP-3C aircraft from Al Minhad Air Base for extended surveillance missions over the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan in support of coalition ground operations.

The four-engined aircraft has been designed to track down and sink enemy submarines using torpedoes and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

The AP-3C, in service with the RAAF since 1968, can also carry out high-altitude surveillance with its sophisticated cameras and other intelligence-gathering gear.