An Air Force MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft suffered a “hard landing” in Niamey, Niger, following an unarmed reconnaissance and surveillance sortie in support of operations in West Africa on Monday, officials said. The impact “damaged the runway at Diori Hamani International Airport in Niamey” but caused no injury to military or civilian personnel, US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa spokesman Capt. William-Joseph Mojica told Air Force Magazine. The RPA was reportedly supporting French military operations against Islamist militants in neighboring Mali, according to a Reuters report. “The US government is working closely with the government of Niger to secure the scene and mitigate inconveniences caused by the incident,” Mojica added in an Oct. 21 statement. The service is currently investigating the incident and will provide further information pending the results, according to USAFE-AFAFRICA officials.
Unlike nearly every other innovative technology throughout history, Maj. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt believes the space enterprise emerged backward. “Every other domain started with an entrepreneur who built something,” Burt, the special assistant to the Chief of Space Operations, told an audience at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.