An MQ-1B Predator remotely piloted aircraft crashed during an Operation Inherent Resolve sortie supporting operations over central Iraq last week, Air Force Central Command officials announced. Controllers lost contact with the RPA during mid-flight at approximately 12:50 p.m. local time on Jan. 7, and were unable to re-establish control of the Predator. The incident was due to technical failure rather than enemy fire, according to officials. The MQ-1 was completely destroyed on impact and posed no risk of falling into enemy hands. No injury to civilian or military personnel were reported, and the incident caused no significant damage to property, according to the release. The first MQ-1 lost in combat supporting OIR crashed in Syria last March. Counting a crash in Iraq last June, and two additional losses in a single week last October, the most recent incident brings OIR Predator losses to at least five. The cause of last week’s crash is currently under investigation.
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.