An Air Force Accident Investigation Board was not able to determine why an MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle that crashed May 13 (earlier reported as May 14) in Afghanistan lost contact with its ground control station, Air Combat Command announced Sept. 22. Operators were unable to reestablish a return link, and officials presumed the UAV went down in a forward operating area. The AIB found “sufficient evidence” to rule out “weather, icing, aircrew performance or qualifications, fuel starvation, or maintenance discrepancies,” the release said. The UAV was valued at some $3.9 million.
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.