US Reaper UAV crashes in Afghanistan

26 November 2015 (Last Updated November 26th, 2015 04:43)

A US Air Force (USAF) operated MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has crashed near Bargam Air Field, Afghanistan.

Reaper

A US Air Force (USAF) operated MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has crashed near Bargam Air Field, Afghanistan.

The long-endurance drone is primarily deployed against dynamic execution targets and secondarily for intelligence collection.

Loaded with weapons, the UAV took off from Kandahar Air Field and crashed at around 7.10pm local time on Tuesday.

The drone was being operated by the 451st Air Expeditionary Group, part of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing.

No attempts were made to physically secure the crash site as the Reaper was totally destroyed.

455th Air Expeditionary Wing spokesman Capt. Bryan Bouchard was quoted by Stars and Stripes as saying: "The aircraft went down in a remote area away from any civilian population centres and it was a total loss.

"The munitions on board were also destroyed with the aircraft."

Though there are no details on the munitions onboard the UAV, Reaper has the capability to carry a combination of weapons, including AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, GBU-12 Paveway II and GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions.

"The aircraft went down in a remote area away from any civilian population centres and it was a total loss."

According to Bouchard, the UAV was operated from one of several control stations outside Afghanistan.

The Reaper has a range of 1,000nm and a maximum height of 50,000ft. A pilot and a sensor operator are required to fly the drone remotely.

The USAF said in a statement: "There is no indication of injuries or damage to civilian property as a result of the crash.

"The cause of the crash is currently under investigation, but enemy fire was not a factor."

This is the second UAV crash reported by the USAF in less than a week.

An X-56A UAV crashed on 19 November shortly after take-off from the Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California. The incident caused severe damage to the UAV but no injuries or property damage was reported.


Image: An MQ-9A Reaper prepares to land after a mission in Afghanistan. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo / Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson.