HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE – An unmanned MQ-9 Reaper crashed on landing at the base at approximately 5:35 p.m. Wednesday, according to a news release issued Wednesday night by 49th Wing Public Affairs Office.
The aircraft was assigned to the 29th Attack Squadron, which is part of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Flying Training Unit, and was returning from a training mission.
No one was injured and no private property was damaged. A board will be convened to investigate the cause of the accident.
This is the second unmanned aircraft to crash at the base within a week’s time. According to a news release 49th Wing Public Affairs issued last Friday, an MQ-1 Predator crashed on landing at the base that day as it was returning from a training mission.
The Predator was assigned to the 6th Reconnaissance Squadron, also part of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Flying Training Unit.
No one was injured and no private property was damaged in the Friday incident, and a board will also be convened to investigate the cause of that accident.
Wednesday’s accident is the third crash of an unmanned aircraft at Holloman. The first was when an MQ-1 Predator crashed while taking off Sept. 11, 2009 one day after the base declared initial operational capability of the Predator at Holloman. That accident also involved no injuries and no private property damage.
Arlan Ponder, 49th Wing Public Affairs media relations chief, said the cost estimate for a Reaper with its sensor is about $10.5 million. It is more expensive than the Predator, estimated at $4.5 million, as it has more capability and can carry more payload. The Reaper can carry four Hellfire missiles while the Predator can carry two, plus the Reaper can be upgraded to carry laser-guided bombs and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.
Ponder said both unmanned aircraft models can fly up to 14 hours straight and both use normal airplane fuel.
As additional information becomes available, it will be released on the Holloman website at www.holloman.af.mil. Photos and fact sheets on the MQ-9 and MQ-1 can also be found on the Holloman website.