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A-10 jet accidentally fires rocket northeast of Tucson

An A-10 attack jet from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base accidentally fired a white phosphorous rocket in a training area about 60 miles from Tucson on Thursday morning, officials said. No fires or injuries were reported.

The pilot of the A-10C Thunderbolt II "unintentionally released a single M-156 rocket today at approximately 10:40 a.m.," Air Force officials said.

"The rocket impacted in a desert wash in an uninhabited area under the Jackal Military Operations Area, which is located approximately 60 miles northeast of Tucson. This training area is not designated for munitions release," base representatives said.

"No injuries, damages or fires have been reported at this time," D-M officials said.

The plane is part of the 354th Fighter Squadron from the 355th Wing at the Tucson base.

M-156 rockets are smoke-producing 2.75-inch rockets with a 2.2-lb. white phosphorous payload, used for marking targets and starting fires. The variant of the Hydra 70 rocket has a range of about 9,000 yards; the rockets are fired from 7 and 19-tube launchers.

The Jackal Military Operations Area and the adjacent Outlaw Military Operations Area, northeast of Tucson and about 30 miles east of Phoenix, support air-to-air and night training missions for Davis-Monthan and Luke Air Force bases, as well as the 162nd Air National Guard Fighter Wing based at Tucson International Airport.

Other MOAs, including Morenci and Cato, border on Jackal MOA and extend into New Mexico.

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Air Force and other military planes operating below 18,000 feet are allowed to fly at night without lights in the MOAs, which are set up to segregate military training missions from civilian flights.

West of Tucson is a live-fire bombing range, where the nearly two-million acre Goldwater range is one of the U.S. military's most heavily used, with Air Force planes from D-M and Luke AFB as well as Marine aircraft based in Yuma strafing and bombing as well as practicing aerial maneuvers.

Unlike with the Goldwater bombing range, the land beneath the aerial MOAs is not controlled by the military.

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An A-10 from the 357th Fighter Squadron practicing close air support on the Barry M. Goldwater bombing range west of Tucson in May 2015.