NATO says lost US unmanned helicopter in Libya


NATO said it had lost an unmanned US helicopter drone over Libya but denied a Libyan state television report that it was a manned Apache aircraft.

NATO said the “unmanned autonomous helicopter drone” was on an intelligence surveillance mission over Libya and lost contact with its command centre. The aircraft was NATO’s first loss since took over the air strike mission on March 31.
“We are looking into the reasons behind the incident,” NATO military spokesman Wing Commander Mike Bracken said, Reuters reports.

Another NATO official said the drone came down near the central town of Zintan.
“There was no indication when we lost communication that it was under attack,” he said.

Bracken denied a Libyan state television report that a NATO Apache attack helicopter came down over Libya.
“NATO confirms it has not lost any attack helicopter,” he said.

NATO officials said the drone was an MQ-8 Fire Scout, which is made by US firm Northrop Grumman. Libyan Television showed footage of the wreckage.

NATO says it has lost no other aircraft during its mission.

A US F-15E fighter jet taking part in pre-NATO-led strikes on Libya by a Western coalition crashed in March. Its crew ejected safely and the United States blamed a mechanical failure for the crash.