Air Combat Command announced Monday that operator error caused the loss of an MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft flying out of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, on Oct. 3, 2009. ACC’s accident investigation board determined that “channelized attention”—the lack of comprehensive situational awareness—by two Predator operators during the handover of the aircraft’s control between the pilot in the war theater and the pilot back in the US led to the MQ-1 crashing in rugged Afghan mountainous terrain and being destroyed on impact. The Predator was carrying one Hellfire missile. The total loss is valued at approximately $3.8 million, according to ACC. (Langley release) (AIB executive summary)
Americans’ trust and confidence in the U.S. military has declined precipitously in recent months, according to the results of a survey. Experts lay the blame on increasing political polarization and the fallout from this summer’s turbulent withdrawal from Afghanistan.