Another US drone crashes in Seychelles

December 14, 2011
U.S. Admits Iran has a drone in perfect working condition and now another Predator malfunctions over the Indian ocean. ( NAIROBI, Kenya — An American military drone that had been used to monitor piracy off the East African coast has crashed at an airport on the island nation of Seychelles during a routine patrol, officials said Tuesday.

The U.S. Embassy in Mauritius said the unmanned U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper was not armed and that the crash caused no injuries. The crash sparked a fire that was quickly extinguished.
Lina Laurence of Seychelles’ civilian aviation authority said the drone developed engine problems minutes into its flight and needed to land as soon as possible Tuesday morning.
“But due to its accelerated landing speed, the aircraft was unable to stop before the runway’s end,” Laurence said.
The embassy’s statement said the cause of the crash is being investigated.
“It has been confirmed that this drone was unarmed and its failure was due to mechanical reasons,” Laurence said.
The affected runway was closed for about 10 minutes as a “precautionary measure,” but was later reopened with no disruption to airport operations, Laurence said.
The U.S. military and the civilian aviation authority of Seychelles have coordinated to remove the debris, officials said.
While U.S. Air Force officials attempt to determine the cause of the crash, initial reports indicate that upon landing the drone failed to stop and ran off the runway into large rocks along the shoreline, U.S. officials said in Washington.
The MQ-9 Reaper is a medium-to-high altitude unmanned aircraft system with sensors that can provide real-time data. The Seychelles-based MQ-9s, which are used to monitor piracy activities in and around the Indian Ocean, don’t carry weapons, though they have the capability to do so.
Tuesday’s crash follows last week’s claim by Iran that it seized a drone identified as the RQ-170 Sentinel. Tehran said it was captured over the country’s east. The nearly intact drone was displayed on state TV and flaunted as a victory for Iran in a complicated intelligence and technological battle with the U.S.

U.S. officials said the unmanned aircraft malfunctioned and was not brought down by Iran. President Barack Obama said Monday the U.S. wants the top-secret aircraft back and has delivered a formal request for the return of the surveillance drone, though it isn’t hopeful that Iran will comply.
The U.S. has used drones to hunt down al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia and Yemen, among other countries. Their humming is a constant feature in the sky in many of the major towns in southern Somalia, especially the capital city and the militant-controlled southern port of Kismayo. It was not clear if drones operated out of the Seychelles are used for that purpose.

NBC News’ Jim Miklaszewski contributed to this story from The Associated Press.

The Predator B is a larger and more powerful derivative of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.’s (GA-ASI) successful RQ/MQ-1 Predator multi-mission UAV. Development was begun as a private venture in 1998, but was eventually funded by NASA. The first flight of the prototype occurred in February 2001

Photo: General Atomics

Predator B (YMQ-9A)

The Predator B is essentially a scaled-up derivative of the RQ/MQ-1 Predator, the major difference in layout being the more conventional upward V-tail. GA-ASI has flown Predator B prototypes with two different powerplants, the first one with a Honeywell TPE-331-10T turboprop and the second one with a Williams FJ44-2A turbofan. The basic equipment suite of the Predator Bis similar to that of the RQ/MQ-1 Predator, and the primary mission equipment consists of a Raytheon AN/AAS-52(V) MTS (Multi-Spectral Targeting System) EO/IR sensor turret/laser designator and a General Atomics AN/APY-8 Lynx SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar). The Predator B can also be used as an armed multi-mission UAV, launching AGM-114C/K Hellfiremissiles and other guided weapons. The Predator B is compatible with the ground-based communications equipment of the MQ-1B Predator system, so that it can supplement and/or replace the latter relatively seamlessly

Photo: General Atomics
Predator B (YMQ-9A)

After the U.S. Air Force had successfully “weaponized” its RQ-1 Predator, it became interested in the more powerful Predator B. In February 2003, the designation MQ-9A was allocated to the turboprop-powered variant of the Predator B (the USAF was not interested in the turbofan version), and later that year two YMQ-9A prototypes were purchased. These aircraft are being evaluated by the Air Force, and at least four additional more airframes have been delivered so far. Current orders cover at least 20 MQ-9 aircraft, and the planned total production is 60 airframes. The YMQ-9A has significantly higher performance than the original Predator. It has a mission endurance of 24 hours at a maximum altitude of 13700 m (45000 ft), and GA-ASI claims a total endurance of up to 30 hours. In 2006, the USAF assigned the official “popular name” Reaper to the MQ-9 UAV.

Photo: Kaston/Skyshadow

Note: Frequently the designation MQ-9B is mentioned for the Predator B (or its projected production version). However, this designation is not yet allocated to any Predator B variant.

Photo: Senior Airman Larry E. Reid Jr., USAF


Data for YMQ-9A:

Length 10.97 m (36 ft 0 in)
Wingspan 20.12 m (66 ft 0 in)
Height 3.56 m (11 ft 8 in)
Weight max: 4540 kg (10000 lb); empty: 1380 kg (3050 lb)
Speed > 405 km/h (220 knots)
Ceiling 15200 m (50000 ft)
Endurance > 24 h
Propulsion Honeywell TPE-331-10T turboprop; 670 kW (900 sh
Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate! Main Sources via ( [1] Tom Kaminski: “The Future is Here”, article in Combat Aircraft Vol. 4, No. 6, 2003 [2] Department of Defense Missile Nomenclature Records [3] “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Roadmap, 2005-2030”, Office of the Secretary of Defense, August 2005

Turkey ending dependence on Israel for drone repair

October 24, 2011
(h/t Israel Matzav): Iran’s Press TV claims that Turkey has ended its dependence on Israel for drone repairs.
Murad Bayar, Turkey’s undersecretary for defense industries, said on Saturday that Tusas Engine Industries, based in the northeastern Turkish city of Eskisehir, will be tasked with fixing the Israeli-made drones’ motors. He said that the other parts of the drones will be repaired by Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. The move has been taken to end Turkey’s reliance on Israel for repairing the drones. The Turkish official noted that the two-year guarantee period of the drones will end this month and they will never again be sent to Israel for repairs.

Everyone predicted this… afterall Obama is dealing American Predators to the Turks. The Turks have no reason to deal with Israel as a friend if they see Obama treating Israel so poorly.

Backstabs to Syria and Radar Deal Triggers Benefits in Weaponry for Turkey

October 11, 2011

Turkey is playing us well. The have their chips all in the right place at the right time. Friends with Syria in fair weather and then a backstab… in fact it appears that Ankara is planning a Syrian overthrow of Assad.

Al-Asaad (not Bashar al-Assad) is now staying in a refugee camp in the southern province of Hatay after escaping from his post in the Syrian Air Force in July. Nearly 7,608 refugees are currently sheltering in Turkish camps along the border with Syria. The number of military defections in Syria is increasing, said al-Asaad, who is the leader of a group of similar defectors that are now calling themselves the Free Syrian Army. “Right now there are more than 10,000 defectors in the Free Syrian Army, and the number is increasing day by day,” al-Asaad said. “Defecting soldiers are setting up ambushes against government forces to prevent them from entering the villages.”

(AlArabiya) Formed in Istanbul at the end of August, the Syrian National Council unites all the major known factions opposing Assad’s rule, both inside and outside Syria. It includes the Local Coordination Committees, an activist network spurring protests in Syria, the long-banned Muslim Brotherhood as well as Kurdish and Assyrian groups. The formation of the council has been welcomed by Western countries including the United States and France. However, unlike the transitional council set up by Libyan rebels who overthrew Muammar Qaddafi, they have not offered it any formal recognition.

Erdogan is cooperating with a NATO missile shield in exchange for weapons that he will use against his Kurds and will use against the Jews in Israel. This appears to be upsetting the Iranians.

Rahim-Safavi said trade ties with Turkey — which is an importer of Iranian gas and exporter of an array of manufactured goods — would be in jeopardy if Ankara does not change its course.
“If Turkish political leaders fail to make their foreign policy and ties with Iran clear, they will run into problems. If, as they claim, they intend to raise the volume of contracts with Iran to the $20 billion mark, they will ultimately have to accommodate Iran.”

…but Turkey isn’t scared of Iran. Iran needs Turkey more then Turkey needs Iran… and Turkey is benefitting by unscrupulous dealings between Iran and NATO. There is no incentive for this behavior to stop

Turkey has already started to see the benefits of its decision to host a special radar for NATO’s planned missile shield as the United States promised to transfer three AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters to Ankara’s control for use against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. U.S. Ambassador to Ankara Frank Ricciardone told reporters Sept. 30 that the U.S. had agreed to transfer three AH-1Ws to the Turkish military to be used in the fight against the PKK.

They had some before, but relations were rocky.

Iran_already has expressed its ire against Turkey,” said an Ankara-based defense analyst familiar with U.S.-Turkish relations. “So something more is expected to come from the United States, probably in terms of equipment and in political support.” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently announced that a number of MQ-1 Predator drones would also be acquired from the U.S.; Turkey had asked for both unarmed and armed versions of the Predator nearly three years ago. The MQ-1 Predator is mainly the surveillance version, and the MQ-9 Reaper is the armed version.