US military loses MQ-1C UAV in Niger


A US military MQ-1C Grey Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has crashed in Niger, after suffering what Africa Command said was a mechanical failure.

Africa Command said it lost a UAV in the vicinity of Agadez, Niger, on 29 February. “Our initial and current assessment is that the RPA was lost due to mechanical failure,” the command said.

Photos shared on social media showed the aircraft with US Army markings. At least one Hellfire missile survived the impact and was photographed as well.

The UAV most likely flew out of Air Base 201 outside Agadez. The US military began conducting intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations out of the base from November last year after a multi-million dollar upgrade.

The US previously flew armed UAVs out of Niger’s capital, Niamey. They target Islamist militants in the Sahel, including Boko Haram and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. The US military also supports thousands of French troops in the region.