Shortly after losing its satellite data link Sept. 18, 2012, an MQ-1 B Predator crashed in a U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, according to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report released last week.
Based on the limited recovered wreckage and other available evidence, the actual cause of the power loss could not be determined by clear and convincing evidence. The board president, however, stated it is possible the crash was preceded by a catastrophic power loss. Other possible causes were ruled out on the basis of the available evidence.
The mishap crew was assigned to the 432d Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. The mishap remotely piloted aircraft was destroyed with a total loss valued at approximately $4.4 million. There were no injuries or damage to government or private property.
According to the Accident Investigation Board report, the mishap remotely piloted aircraft satellite data link disconnected. The mishap pilot ran the appropriate checklist, but was unsuccessful in reestablishing a satellite link. The mishap remotely piloted aircraft impacted approximately 3.25 nautical miles south-southwest of the point where the link was lost.
The accident investigation board president determined that evidence rules out anomalies with the ground control station, mishap crew, maintenance and weather.
Source: Air Combat Command