An MQ-1B Predator from the 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron Detachment 1 sits on a ramp at Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan, on Feb. 3, 2016. Air Force photo by TSgt. Robert Cloys.
An Air Force MQ-1B Predator experienced an electrical failure and fell from the sky during a combat mission at an undisclosed location in the Middle East on Aug. 17, 2017, according to an investigation released Wednesday.
The Predator, which was deployed to a forward operating location in the US Central Command area of responsibility, was being flown by a crew from the 432d Wing at Creech AFB, Nev. It had just taken off and the crew at Creech was taking control from a launch and recovery element when the aircraft experienced an internal electrical failure.
This “resulted in the aircraft’s inability to continue flight,” according to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report. The main cause was the failure of an electrical cable that resulted in the loss of power to the aircraft’s left tail flight control surface, resulting in a maximum trailing-edge-down deflection, according to the AIB.
The Predator crashed in a remote area and was totally destroyed, at a loss of $5.4 million.
The mishap happened weeks before another MQ-1 crashed elsewhere in CENTCOM, although the remotely piloted aircraft in the latter incident was not found.