In a response to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request from Drone Wars UK, the MoD has revealed that two British Reaper drones have crashed since January 2015. The first, ZZ201, crashed on landing in October 2015 when its landing gear collapsed. The MoD has told us previously that this airframe was in the US, awaiting decommissioning due to – MoD press officers told Jane’s – the fact that it was near the end of its viable flying life. It did not mention then that the aircraft had crash landed.
Ten months later, a British Reaper ran off the runway at a base in the Middle East and was damaged. More than three years later it is still awaiting repair at a General Atomics facility in California.
The MoD refuses to disclose where British Reapers, flying operations over Iraq and Syria since 2014, are based but it is believed to be Ali Al Salem airbase in Kuwait.
A British Reaper crashed mid-flight in Afghanistan in April 2008 and the downed drone was subsequently bombed by a Harrier jet. Two other Reapers have been involved in accidents but repaired.
UK Armed Forces Large UAV Crashes
|Jun 13, 2018||Watchkeeper||N/A||Aberporth||Press||Destroyed|
|Mar 24, 2017||Watchkeeper||N/A||Irish Sea||Press||Destroyed|
|Feb 3, 2017||Watchkeeper||N/A||Irish Sea||Press||Destroyed|
|Aug 16, 2016||MQ-9 Reaper||ZZ205||Undisclosed||FoI||Awaiting repair|
|Oct 17, 2015||MQ-Reaper||ZZ201||Undisclosed||FoI||Withdrawn from service|
|Nov 2, 2015||Watchkeeper||WK006||Salisbury||Press||Destroyed|
|Oct 16, 2014||Watchkeeper||WH031||Aberporth||FoI||Withdrawn in Jan 2015|
|Oct 4, 2013||Hermes 450||ZK517||Afghanistan||FoI||Retired in 2014|
|Sep 5, 2013||Hermes 450||ZK518||Afghanistan||FoI||Repaired and retired in 2014|
|July 22, 2012||Hermes 450||ZK506||Afghanistan||FoI||Destroyed|
|Mar 31, 2012||MQ-9 Reaper||ZZ203||Afghanistan||FoI||Repaired|
|Oct 2, 2011||Hermes 450||Zk515||Afghanistan||FoI||Destroyed|
|Jun 3, 2010||Hermes 450||ZK512||Afghanistan||FoI||Destroyed|
|May 21, 2010||Hermes 450||ZK516||Afghanistan||FoI||Destroyed|
|May 2, 2010||MQ-9 Reaper||ZZ202||Afghanistan||FoI||Repaired|
|Jun 2 2009||Hermes 450||ZK513||Afghanistan||FoI||Destroyed|
|Apr 09, 2008||MQ-9 Reaper||N/A||Afghanistan||Press||Destroyed|
|Jan 13, 2008||Hermes 450||N/A||Iraq||Wikileaks||‘Major damage’|
Chris Cole said: ‘We’re very concerned that the MoD have not disclosed these Reaper accidents previously. In addition to the well-publicised crashes of Watchkeeper, our report ‘Accidents Will Happen’ details more than 250 crashes of large military UAVs over the past decade. This data should really give ministers and airspace regulators pause for thought amidst the push to allow Protector to fly in UK airspace.’