Italian search and rescue teams have recovered debris in the Adriatic Sea which they believe belongs to a missing Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon operated by the US Air Force.

The USAF says the fighter, assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano air base, went missing on a night-time training mission on 28 January.

Controllers lost contact with the pilot at about 20:00 local time, the USAF says. Italian air and sea rescue assets were immediately dispatched to the aircraft's last known location 10-15nm (19-28km) east of Cervia, Italy.

US military officials are co-ordinating search and rescue efforts with Italian military and civilian teams. However, they have yet to find any sign of the pilot.

"We are tremendously grateful for the support and co-ordination we've received from the Italian people and government," says Brig Gen Scott Zobrist, commander of 31st Fighter Wing.

Source: Flight International