Ali Akbar Dareini and Brian Murphy | Associated Press
Iranian TV showed images of what was said to be a ScanEagle. The American Navy said none of its drones were missing.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran claimed Tuesday it had taken another prize in a growing showdown with Washington over drone surveillance, displaying a purported U.S. unmanned aircraft it said was captured intact. The U.S. Navy, however, said none of its drones in the region was missing.
The conflicting accounts could put pressure on both sides for more details on U.S. reconnaissance and Iranian counter-measures.
They also point to other questions, including how Iran could manage to snatch the Boeing-designed ScanEagle drone without noticeable damage to its light-weight, carbon-fiber body or whether the aircraft could be from another Gulf country that deploys it.
There is even the possibility the drone is authentic but was plucked from the sea after a past crash and unveiled for maximum effect amid escalating tensions over U.S. reconnaissance missions — including a Predator drone coming under fire from Iranian warplanes last month. Read More
Craig Whitlock | The Washington Post
The U.S. Air Force drone, on a classified spy mission over the Indian Ocean, was destined for disaster from the start.An inexperienced military contractor in shorts and a T-shirt, flying by remote control from a trailer at Seychelles International Airport, committed blunder after blunder in six minutes on April 4.
Click picture to watch video footage of recent US drone wrecks.
He sent the unarmed MQ-9 Reaper drone off without permission from the control tower. A minute later, he yanked the wrong lever at his console, killing the engine without realizing why.
As he tried to make an emergency landing, he forgot to put down the wheels. The $8.9 million aircraft belly-flopped on the runway, bounced and plunged into the tropical waters at the airport’s edge, according to a previously undisclosed Air Force accident investigation report.The drone crashed at a civilian airport that serves a half-million passengers a year, most of them sun-seeking tourists. No one was hurt, but it was the second Reaper accident in five months — under eerily similar circumstances.
“I will be blunt here. I said, ‘I can’t believe this is happening again,’ ” an Air Force official at the scene told investigators afterward. He added: “You go, ‘How stupid are you?’ ” Read More
Geoffery Ingersoll | Business Insider
A group of Ohio-based air national guardsmen had to crash their $3.8 million Predator drone into an Afghan mountain when they lost control of the vehicle mid-flight in April.
The crash was blamed on “mechanical failure,” says a recently released official Air Force Report. Apparently, the crew couldn’t safely return the aircraft, and were ordered to destroy the drone by ramming it into the ground.
Later, a recovery team was able to locate and sequester any sensitive pieces of equipment, to include the drone’s weaponry.
This is the 100th drone lost since 2007, according to a leading drone tracking blog. Chris Cole, a leading drone tracker, told the British Online Journal Defence Management, that mechanical failure and engine failure were the most common causes of drone crashes. But, Cole said that “lost links” were next highest on the list of failures. Read More