On August 6, a Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude long endurance surveillance drone of the US Air Force crashed in a rural field near Gilby, North Dakota, as it was returning to Grand Forks Air Base.
No injuries were reported as a result of the alleged crash. Authorities asked the public to avoid the area, as it is now the site of an active military investigation.
In a statement, Col. Jeremy Fields, the 319th Reconnaissance Wing vice commander, said military personnel were on the scene and he anticipated the recovery and investigation may take several weeks.
The Global Hawk accident led to much speculations by some military observers as it took place just a few days after reports claiming that a similar drone was shot down over northern Syria.
According to a recent report by the U-News agency, which is close to the Syrian state, the drone, a MQ-4C Triton, was shot down by a Russian-made Buk-M2E air-defense system of the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces (SyAADF) over the countryside of Aleppo. The incident reportedly took place on August 2.
The Triton is a variant of the Global Hawk that was especially developed to conduct surveillance and reconnaissance missions (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions. Both drones share the exact same design lines, which explains why one would be mistaken for the other.
The absence of any close-up photos from the Global Hawk crash site in Gibly fueled speculations that the US Air Force story was just a cover up for the incident in Syria’s Aleppo. Meanwhile, Syrian authorities are yet to comment on the event of August 2.
The SyAADF targeted US drones operating over Syria in the past. On March 17 of 2015, a MQ-1 Predator combat drone was shot down while it was on an intelligence mission near the coastal Syrian city of Lattakia.
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