An unnamed military drone was involved in a safety “incident” Wednesday morning at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, the service confirmed Thursday.
The remotely piloted aircraft is assigned to Creech’s 432nd Wing, said wing spokesperson Capt. Stephen Collier. No one was hurt in the incident, which occurred shortly before 8 a.m. local time.
It’s unclear to what extent the drone was damaged. A post on the popular “Air Force amn/nco/snco” Facebook page suggested the aircraft had “crashed and skidded off the flightline.”
Collier declined to answer questions about the nature of the incident or what type of aircraft was involved, citing an ongoing investigation.
Creech is the Air Force’s main drone operations hub, from which the 432nd Wing largely flies the MQ-9 Reaper — a mainstay of America’s counterterror wars over the past two decades.
Multiple Reapers suffer mishaps each year, including about four a year that are destroyed. The Air Force names the MQ-9 in some, but not all, of those incidents.
The installation is also home to at least one other reconnaissance drone, the secretive RQ-170 Sentinel.
Little is known about the boomerang-shaped stealth aircraft, for which one mission entails streaming video from above to special operations units on the ground. The War Zone reported in 2018 that an estimated 20 or 30 Sentinels are thought to be operated by the 30th and 44th Reconnaissance Squadrons at Creech. The plane has also been spotted at the former Vandenberg AFB in California.
The Air Force rarely acknowledges RQ-170 operations and does not publicize its accidents in annual safety reports.
“Until the conclusion of the safety investigation board, we are unable to provide further details,” Collier said.
Rachel Cohen is the editor of Air Force Times. She joined the publication as its senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Frederick News-Post (Md.), Air and Space Forces Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy and elsewhere.