A British Reaper drone crashed after landing on 1st December 2021 the MoD has revealed in a Freedom of Information response to Drone Wars UK.
The crash is the sixth ‘mishap’ that has occurred to the UK’s armed Reaper UAV fleet since the system came into service in 2008. At least 20 large (Class II and III) military drones operated by UK armed forces have crashed in the last 15 years. The latest accident came less than a month after a newly purchased Reaper came into service to with the intention of bringing the UK’s fleet back up to its full strength of ten.
While the MoD is refusing to disclose the location of the accident for national security reasons, unless it was an improvised or emergency landing – of if UK Reapers have been deployed to an additional location for operations outside of Iraq and Syria – it is likely to have been at the Ali Al Salem air base in Kuwait where the UK’s Reapers are believed to be based.
The MoD state that the accident was caused by the “failure of the nose wheel steering on landing.” This indicates that the drone likely ran off the runway. The status of the drone, whether it is repairable, and, if so, how long it will be out of service, is still “under investigation”. Read more