Predator Crashes in Iraq; Operation Swarmer Continues
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 21, 2006 An unmanned aerial vehicle crashed this morning in Iraq, and combined operations continued in Salah ah Din province as part of Operation Swarmer.
A pilot at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., was piloting an Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle, based with the 46th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron at Balad Air Base, Iraq, when the aircraft crashed. Army and Air Force personnel recovered the wreckage and returned it to Balad Air Base.
The MQ-1 Predator is a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV system. Its primary mission is interdiction and armed reconnaissance. Each Predator costs about $5 million.
An interim safety investigation board president has been appointed and will conduct an investigation, officials said.
In other news, Operation Swarmer continues in central Salah ah Din province today, as Iraqi security forces and coalition forces, began their sixth day of combined operations today. Participating units include 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division, and 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
Units continue to sweep across the area to deny terrorist forces the freedom of movement and reduce their ability to operate in the province. These efforts also uncovered two weapons caches containing small arms, ammunition and materials used in making improvised-explosive devices yesterday.
(Compiled from U.S. Central Command Air Forces Forward and Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)