Accident investigation finds mechanical failure led to MQ-9A Reaper crash

  • Published
  • By ACC Public Affairs Staff
  • Air Combat Command Public Affairs

Today, Air Combat Command released an Abbreviated Accident Investigation Board report regarding an MQ-9A Reaper that crashed on May 4, 2023, in the ocean in an undisclosed location within the United States Africa Command area of responsibility. The mishap resulted in no fatalities, nor injuries or reported damage to civilian property. The loss of government property was valued at $21.8 million. 

The aircraft belonged to the 432nd Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada. At the time of the mishap, the aircraft was being operated remotely by a Mission Control Element from the 184th Attack Squadron at Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Arkansas. The MCE was comprised of a pilot and sensor operator.

The AAIB president determined the cause of the mishap was a mechanical failure within the aircraft’s engine that resulted in abnormal contact in the engine core between the rotating and static components. The contact between these components resulted in the Digital Electronic Engine Controller decreasing torque to try to maintain normal engine speed. The decrease in torque caused the aircraft to lose all thrust and begin a gradual uncontrolled descent. 

The AAIB report can be viewed at Aircraft Accident Report here.