Yesterday, images of a supposed U.S. military drone crash in Iraq began to circulate online. Now, the Pentagon has confirmed that it has indeed lost an MQ-1 Gray Eagle drone in the country.
In an email statement made to BuzzFeed, a spokesperson from the Pentagon wrote that “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. The images made their way online when they were supplied to Iraqi freelance journalist Steve Ishak by the villagers who found the aircraft.
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. The Pentagon also told Buzzfeed, however, that there “were no weapons on board the aircraft.”
The U.S. military is now apparently working with Iraqi authorities to regain control of the drone.
Image by General Atomics