An MQ-1B Predator that crashed Jan. 17 in Southwest Asia suffered engine failure stemming from a crack in the crankshaft, according to a summary of an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report. The aircraft was destroyed upon impact. The crankshaft crack caused a connecting rod to fail, wedging itself in the opposing cylinder. A recent report indicates, though, that an increasing number of unmanned aerial vehicle crashes can be attributed to operator error.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.