The Pentagon has confirmed that it has indeed lost an MQ-1 Gray Eagle drone in Iraq.
Buzzfeed reports that a spokesperson from the Pentagon stated “an MQ-1 crashed on its way to its recovery base in Iraq” after “technical complications caused a loss of communication.”
The incident actually occurred on July 16th but has only now come to light after several images of the downed drone made their way online.
Local Iraqi villagers found the aircraft and sent photos to Iraqi freelance journalist Steve Ishak. According to Ishak, the photos were taken in “the middle of nowhere” in the desert near the Iraqi city of Samawah.
The Grey Eagle drones, which cost somewhere in the region of $21 million each and are built by General Atomics, can operate up to 29,000 feet and are capable of carrying 1,075 lbs of payload—including Hellfire and Stinger missiles.
Judging from the photos, Emmanuel Huberdeau, a reporter with French aeronautics magazine Air & Cosmos, speculated that the drone may have gone down because of weather conditions or engine failure due to the fact that “there are no bullets or missile impact.”
Huberdeau was the first to identify the drone as a Grey Eagle drone.
The Pentagon also claims there “were no weapons on board the aircraft.”
CENTCOM spokesperson Major Genieve David told BuzzFeed that the U.S. is now working with Iraqi authorities to recover the drone.
Do you think the Iraqis will help us recover the drone? Or could it wind up in the wrong hands? Sound off below.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.
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