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The US Department of Defence (Dod) has confirmed that a US Air Force (USAF) operated MQ-1 Predato2 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) crashed on 7 January while flying a combat mission in central Iraq.

The remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) collapsed when control of the aircraft was lost.

A statement released by the USAF said: "There are no reports of civilian injuries or damage to civilian property at the crash site. The Predator was destroyed and is not in enemy hands.

"An investigation board will convene to determine the specific cause of the crash."

In July, a MQ-1 UAV crashed in Iraq when it was returning from a mission.

As part of its fight against ISIS, the US forces widely use drones in Iraq and Syria to collect intelligence and conduct strikes.

"An investigation board will convene to determine the specific cause of the crash."

The MQ-1, armed with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, is the multi-role version of RQ-1 Predator that is used for armed reconnaissance and interdiction.

It is a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system with a fully operational system consisting of four air vehicles, a ground control station and a primary satellite link communication suite.

The USAF UAVs are operational with its 11th and 15th Reconnaissance Squadrons.

To date, more than 125 Predators have been delivered to the USAF.

Image: A USAF MQ-1B Predator takes off from Ali Base, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Photo: US Air Force photo / Airman 1st Class Jonathan Snyder.