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I lost all of my rifles & handguns in a mishap on Rio Grande when the barge hit a sandbar and sank.
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The whole ordeal cost the service $11,290,000—yikes.
452542


  • The Air Force lost an MQ-9A Reaper drone in June 2020—because officials ordered its crew to deliberately crash it.
  • The uncrewed plane suffered a major fuel leak during a mission in the U.S. Africa Command area, and did not have enough fuel to return to base.
  • Rather than let the plane gracefully run out of fuel, Air Force officials ordered the crew to crash the Reaper into the ground hard.
Last summer, the Air Force purposely crashed a drone flying at an undisclosed location in Africa in order to destroy the plane, according to an unclassified accident report that the service released earlier this month.

Air Force officials discovered that the drone, an MQ-9A Reaper, was leaking fuel and unable to safely return to its base. Rather than gently guide the unmanned plane to the ground, the service ordered the Reaper's remote crew to crash it into the ground hard. That way, it would be nearly impossible for anyone to recover sensitive items, like sensors or weapons, from the crash site.

The incident took place on June 24, 2020 in the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility. Africa Command, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, encompasses almost the entire African continent, with the exception of Egypt. The accident report does not mention where the incident specifically occurred, but U.S. forces are known to conduct operations in North Africa and in the Horn of Africa region.

According to the report, the MQ-9A Reaper—assigned to the 214th Attack Group ( "Black Sheep"), 162nd Wing, Arizona Air National Guard—took off on June 23 at approximately 7:05 p.m. local time from an undisclosed location. The report merely describes the drone's mission as an "operational mission." Reaper drones, armed with Hellfire missiles or Paveway laser-guided bombs, typically conduct such missions as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; armed overwatch; or strike.

At 6:40 a.m., nearly 12 hours into the mission, the pilot and sensor operator discovered the drone was missing fuel. The crew initially could not determine the reason for the leak, but the sensor operator turned the Reaper's sensor turret backward, and discovered fuel pouring from the drone's fuselage. A Reaper drone can carry up to 3,900 pounds of fuel at a time across seven internal fuel tanks.

Officials in charge of the mission ordered the drone to return to base, and the crew originally believed that they could safely land the aircraft back at its airfield. The fuel leak proved unstoppable, however, and the Air Force ordered the crew to crash-land the aircraft in a way that would minimize the chances that adversaries could salvage any useful equipment from the crash site.

The aircraft finally ran out of fuel at 9:14 a.m., and the pilot increased air speed as the Reaper descended to maximize impact velocity. Another flying surveillance asset observed the crash.

General Atomics ASI—the Reaper's manufacturer—reviewed the incident with Air Force officials, ultimately blaming the loss of fuel on a malfunction of the forward electric fuel heater. This eventually caused "fuel exhaustion," and the loss of the aircraft. Total losses, according to the accident report, added up to $11,290,000, or the cost of the drone. No persons or property, the Air Force explains, were harmed during the incident.

XXIV Corps
 

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The whole ordeal cost the service $11,290,000—yikes.
View attachment 452542

  • The Air Force lost an MQ-9A Reaper drone in June 2020—because officials ordered its crew to deliberately crash it.
  • The uncrewed plane suffered a major fuel leak during a mission in the U.S. Africa Command area, and did not have enough fuel to return to base.
  • Rather than let the plane gracefully run out of fuel, Air Force officials ordered the crew to crash the Reaper into the ground hard.
Last summer, the Air Force purposely crashed a drone flying at an undisclosed location in Africa in order to destroy the plane, according to an unclassified accident report that the service released earlier this month.

Air Force officials discovered that the drone, an MQ-9A Reaper, was leaking fuel and unable to safely return to its base. Rather than gently guide the unmanned plane to the ground, the service ordered the Reaper's remote crew to crash it into the ground hard. That way, it would be nearly impossible for anyone to recover sensitive items, like sensors or weapons, from the crash site.

The incident took place on June 24, 2020 in the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility. Africa Command, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, encompasses almost the entire African continent, with the exception of Egypt. The accident report does not mention where the incident specifically occurred, but U.S. forces are known to conduct operations in North Africa and in the Horn of Africa region.

According to the report, the MQ-9A Reaper—assigned to the 214th Attack Group ( "Black Sheep"), 162nd Wing, Arizona Air National Guard—took off on June 23 at approximately 7:05 p.m. local time from an undisclosed location. The report merely describes the drone's mission as an "operational mission." Reaper drones, armed with Hellfire missiles or Paveway laser-guided bombs, typically conduct such missions as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; armed overwatch; or strike.

At 6:40 a.m., nearly 12 hours into the mission, the pilot and sensor operator discovered the drone was missing fuel. The crew initially could not determine the reason for the leak, but the sensor operator turned the Reaper's sensor turret backward, and discovered fuel pouring from the drone's fuselage. A Reaper drone can carry up to 3,900 pounds of fuel at a time across seven internal fuel tanks.

Officials in charge of the mission ordered the drone to return to base, and the crew originally believed that they could safely land the aircraft back at its airfield. The fuel leak proved unstoppable, however, and the Air Force ordered the crew to crash-land the aircraft in a way that would minimize the chances that adversaries could salvage any useful equipment from the crash site.

The aircraft finally ran out of fuel at 9:14 a.m., and the pilot increased air speed as the Reaper descended to maximize impact velocity. Another flying surveillance asset observed the crash.

General Atomics ASI—the Reaper's manufacturer—reviewed the incident with Air Force officials, ultimately blaming the loss of fuel on a malfunction of the forward electric fuel heater. This eventually caused "fuel exhaustion," and the loss of the aircraft. Total losses, according to the accident report, added up to $11,290,000, or the cost of the drone. No persons or property, the Air Force explains, were harmed during the incident.

XXIV Corps
Come on, in the real world of a government wanting to make six TRILLION dollar expenditures, 12 million is chump change. Nobody was hurt, killed, or captured -- which is the whole idea behind unmanned drones. Was any politically sensitive or classified equipment recovered by the bad'uns? Do not know. But it sounds like the manufacturer has egg on its face and it, or its insurer, may be liable to pay up the 12,000,000.

Some folks, particularly the "strict constructionist" variety of "no standing army" types (cf. Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia) might wonder why we have an "area of responsibility" in Africa anyhow.

Not me.

I'm up for pi$$ing away any amount of money in Africa, Afghanistan, or wherever. What me worry?

Forehead Nose Smile Chin Eyebrow
 

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You would think that they'd include a smallish self-destruct charge on the multi-million dollar pieces of tech that operate behind the lines. What do you do if the drone runs out of fuel before you can crash it?
 
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"Death From Above"
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I flew airplanes for 25 years commercially. I can tell you that even manned aircraft have fuel leaks fires electrical problems ect. Ask me how I know. Nothing like having your cabin fill with smoke don your O2 mask establish communications with the chick or dude with an "alternate lifestyle" in the back ( we can't use the word that rhymes with bag anymore) only to discover you first office is too busy crapping his pants to flip the switch on the intercom panel and read the check list. That's ok! I got you covered but you will never fly with me again!
 
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