Warplanes: January 8, 2003


A RQ-1 Predator UAV crashed during a test flight in Pakistan on December 31st. The crash occurred at night, at about 11 PM. The Predator was flying over wilderness area of southern Pakistan, near the Afghan border. The wreckage was recovered, and it appears that, as the Predator operator indicated, the aircraft did not go down because of ground fire, but because of mechanical, electrical or weather related problem. With only one engine, and no pilot on board, Predators are more prone to going down under normal operating conditions. Predators have had problems with sudden wind shifts and icing. The latest version of the Predator has deicing equipment and new software that can better deal with rapidly changing wind conditions. 


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