A German air force Eurofighter lost two 1,000 litre (265USgal) underwing fuel tanks during a routine training flight over the southern state of Bavaria on 28 March.
The two tanks detached from the fighter at around 14:30 local time and the crew immediately reported their loss. A search effort was launched to locate the missing equipment, which was found about 20km (12 miles) west of Augsburg later that day.
© Geoffrey Lee/Eurofighter
An investigation into the reason for the tank loss is under way. It is technically possible for the flightcrew to detach the equipment from the aircraft.
The German defence ministry says that, in "purely theoretical terms", it was possible for the pilots to deliberately jettison the tanks.
There is no information on how much fuel remained in the tanks, but "they were not full", the ministry adds. "Fuel is drawn from them first and they had already been flying a while."
The aircraft belonged to the Jagdgeschwader 74 squadron, based in Neuburg an der Donau in Bavaria.