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July 30, 2014

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Air Force investigating crash of drone aircraft in Nevada

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The Air Force is investigating the Dec. 5, 2012, crash of an MQ-9 Reaper, an unmanned aerial vehicle, about 120 miles north of Las Vegas on the Nevada Test and Training Range west of Hiko, Nev. The plane, assigned to the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force, was participating in a combat training mission.

The U.S. Air Force is investigating why an unmanned “hunter/killer” drone aircraft crashed Wednesday night in the Nevada Test and Training Range, about 120 miles north of Las Vegas.

Nellis Air Force Base said today no one was injured in the crash of the remotely piloted MQ-9 Reaper, which happed in a remote area west of Hiko, in Lincoln County, which is 117 miles north of Las Vegas.

The aircraft, assigned to the 57th Wing at Nellis, was participating in a combat training mission, the Air Force said.

A board of officers is being convened to investigate the crash, officials said.

According to an Air Force fact sheet, the MQ-Reaper is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft used primarily in a “hunter/killer role” and as “an intelligence collection asset.”

The drone has a wingspan of 66 feet, is 36 feet long and weighs 4,900 pounds. It has a range of 1,150 miles and cruises at 230 mph, with a ceiling of 50,000 feet.

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