A Reaper drone from Operation Barkhane crashes in Niger
(B2) The General Staff of the Armed Forces confirmed on Saturday night the crash of one of the French surveillance drones (US-made) operated by the French in Niger.
« On November 17, around 1 a.m., Paris time, contact was lost between the Niamey air base and a Reaper drone from the Barkhane force which was returning from a mission. The drone crashed in a desert area a few kilometers from the runway, without causing any casualties »Indicates the press release.
« The exact reasons for this accident are not known. An investigation to determine the causes is open. It should be noted that this is the first accident of a French Reaper drone, since their entry into service in January 2014 in the Air Force and in the Sahel. " The Reaper drones have flown more than 23 hours since entering operational service. »
NB: the crash of this type of MQ9 machine (version A Reaper or B Predator) is not uncommon. The British had lost one of their first Reapers in Afghanistan in 2008. The United States lost two at their base in the Seychelles, back to back in 2011 and 2012, and two more in Afghanistan in 2015 and 2016. One had been destroyed in northern Syria during a mission in July 2016 then destroyed on the ground to avoid any reuse (read here).