A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba confirms that has returned a dummy U.S. Hellfire missile that was mistakenly shipped there from Europe in 2014.
The weapon returned by Cuba was an inert training missile that was inadvertently sent to the island from Europe, where it was used in a NATO training exercise.
The Hellfire is a laser-guided, air-to-surface missile that weighs about 100 pounds. Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, it can be deployed from an attack helicopter like the Apache or an unmanned drone like the Predator.
The Cuban government confirmed the return of the missile and said that customs inspectors had discovered it while conducting a routine inspection of cargo that had arrived on a flight from Paris.
The government statement said the missile had come to Cuba as a result of “error or mishandling” in its country of origin. “For Cuban authorities, the arrival in the country of U.S.-made military equipment that hadn’t been declared as such on the cargo manifesto was worrying,” the government said.
The equipment was “duly conserved and taken care of” and once the U.S. government officially informed Cuba that the missile had been shipped there by mistake and the U.S. wanted to recover it, Cuba began proceedings to return the missile, the government said.
A team of U.S. experts traveled to Cuba to inspect the missile and brought it back to the U.S. on Saturday, the government said.
“Cuba acted with seriousness and transparency and cooperated in order to find a satisfactory solution to this situation,” said the Declaration of the Cuban Foreign Ministry
(Radio Havana Cuba)