An MQ-1B Predator electrical malfunction Aug. 22, 2012, led to the crash of the aircraft in a non-residential area in Afghanistan, according to an Air Combat Command Abbreviated Accident Investigation Board report released today.
The mishap crews were assigned to the 18th Reconnaissance Squadron at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, and the 178th Reconnaissance Squadron at Fargo Air National Guard Base, North Dakota. When the accident occurred, the mishap crews were flying a mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
According to the report, the mishap remotely piloted aircraft experienced an electrical malfunction due to a dual alternator failure, which began a chain of events that caused the aircraft to function solely on battery power. Based on mission data logs, the AAIB Board President found, by clear and convincing evidence, the aircraft’s recovery system was unable to bring the electrical system back online.
The mission control crew also failed to apply a checklist procedure that would have preserved more battery power. When the launch and recovery crew was able to seize control of the aircraft after a second lost link occurrence, the batteries were exhausted to the point where it was impossible for the aircraft to reach the runway.
The mishap remotely piloted aircraft, one air-to-ground Hellfire missile (AGM-114), and one missile rail were destroyed. The loss is valued at approximately $4.6 million. There were no injuries or damage to government or private property.