Unmanned Air Force Reaper crashes in Mojave Desert

No reports of injuries or property damage; Air Force board is examining what led to crash

Published September 1, 2010 9:45PM (EDT)

An unmanned MQ-9 Reaper warplane crashed Wednesday in the El Mirage Dry Lake area of the Mojave Desert, the Air Force said.

The remotely piloted plane went down at 11:45 a.m. PDT about a mile north of El Mirage Airfield with no reports of injuries or property damage, according to a statement from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

The aircraft belonged to Wright-Patterson's Aeronautical Systems Center, which has a division responsible for acquiring Reapers for the Air Force.

The Reaper was on a test flight that began at Gray Butte Airfield about five miles east of El Mirage.

The crash will be investigated by an Air Force board, the statement said.

Reapers are 35 feet long with a wingspan of 66 feet and a single engine turning a rear-mounted pusher propeller.

Built by Southern California-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Reapers can carry missiles and other armaments for attack and have sensors for intelligence and reconnaissance missions.

Reapers are among U.S. unmanned military aircraft systems widely used in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world.

El Mirage is about 10 miles west of the small city of Adelanto on U.S. 395. Its flat expanse is often used for vehicle speed contests and as a film location.

By Associated Press

MORE FROM Associated Press

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

U.s. Military