MoD discloses two crashes of British Reaper drones in FoI response

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

Date Type Tail No. Where Source Note
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Oct 17, 2015 MQ-Reaper ZZ201 Undisclosed FoI Withdrawn from service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Oct 16, 2014 Watchkeeper WH031 Aberporth FoI Withdrawn in Jan 2015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.’

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