US drone crashed in Mali in Apri

2013-07-12 22:32

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - A US military Reaper drone crashed in Mali in April as it was carrying out a surveillance flight over the troubled west African nation, a US defence official said on Friday.

The robotic, unmanned aircraft went down due to "mechanical failure," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

Since February, the United States has stationed two drones at an air base in Niamey to provide intelligence for French forces in Mali.

An initial deployment of a Predator drone was replaced by two MQ-9 Reapers, which can fly faster and have a longer range than the older Predator planes.

Apart from sharing intelligence with the French, the drones along with more than 100 US Air Force troops are also there to help stem the flow of insurgents from neighboring Mali into Niger, where authorities are increasingly concerned over the presence of regional militant groups.

The French military also has two Harfang surveillance drones based at the same air field in Niamey to help track militants in Mali.

But France wants to replace the less advanced Harfangs with American MQ-9 Reapers, announcing plans in June to purchase a dozen of the planes with the first two aircraft due to be delivered by the end of the year.

The Pentagon informed Congress on 27 June of a possible sale of up to 16 Reapers to France at a cost of $1.5bn. The planes are manufactured by General Atomics.

French forces deployed to Mali in January to push back Islamist militants in the north.

About 3 200 French troops in Mali are drawing down to some 1 000 soldiers, who will back up a new UN peacekeeping mission set up on 1 July comprised of 6 300 African troops.

Read more on:    us  |  france  |  mali  |  aviation  |  north africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.