The US Air Force (USAF) has recovered remains of the F-16 fighter pilot who died in a crash this week in the Gulf of Mexico.

A part of the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group at Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, US, the F-16C fighter was conducting a routine training mission over the Gulf when it lost communication with the base on 6 November.

The air force, along with US Coast Guard, immediately dispatched aircraft and rescue forces to the downed jet’s last known location.

The plane’s parts were discovered nearly 60m from Panama City over the Gulf of Mexico.

Tyndall AFB said in a statement: "Base efforts will now shift from that of a rescue mission to a recovery operation as evidence is collected to help in determining the cause of the crash.

"A board of qualified officers has been assembled to conduct this investigation and no additional information about the accident will be released until the investigation is complete."

The base has withheld the name of the pilot to allow for notification of his family.

Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the F-16 was initially designed as an air superiority day fighter, but later evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft for accurate delivery of ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions.

"Base efforts will now shift from that of a rescue mission to a recovery operation."

The single Pratt & Whitney F-100-GE-129 turbofan engine-powered jets are also operated by the air forces of Egypt, Iraq, New Zealand, South Korea and Chile, as well as Bahrain, Greece Singapore, Poland and the US.

Meanwhile, an US Army Apache helicopter went down south of the Gowen Field Air National Guard Base, near Boise, last night.

Idaho National Guard spokesman colonel Tim Marsano said two crew members were on board the helicopter and were conducting a night training mission.

The condition of crew members and cause of accident remains unknown.

Image: A USAF F-16C fighter aircraft flies a training mission over the coast of North Carolina, US. Photo: courtesy of SMSgt Thomas Meneguin.

Defence Technology