A unmanned military drone crashed several miles outside of Grand Forks Air Force Base on Friday morning.
A U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk — a massive, remotely piloted surveillance drone with a 131-foot wingspan — crashed and caught fire in a field about 4 miles north of the North Dakota air base, the Grand Forks Herald reported.
- The U.S. Air Force and several law enforcement agency were on the scene of the crash Friday, according the Herald.
UPDATED: Air Force drone crashes in field near Grand Forks; investigation may take weeks, Air Force reports https://t.co/hNPWG9bt3n— Grand Forks Herald (@gfherald) August 6, 2021
In a press release Friday, the Air Force’s 319th Reconnaissance Wing said the RQ-4 Block 40 aircraft was returning to base when it crashed and that no one had been injured at the scene. They requested people avoid the area while it recovered and investigated the wreckage.
According to the 319th Reconnaissance Wing’s official Air Force website, the unit “provides rapid combat support through mission support functions, mobility preparedness, and continuous security to Grand Forks, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Cavalier Air Force Station located in Cavalier, North Dakota.”
- U.S. Air Force Col. Jeremy Fields, vice commander of the 319th Reconnaissance Wing, said in a statement Friday that members of the military unit were at the site of the crash and that an investigation of the incident could take weeks.
- “I’d like to personally thank local law enforcement, Customs and Border Protection and emergency services for their support on scene,” Fields said.
Northrop Grumman, creator of the RQ-4, advertises that the drone can fly at high altitudes, up to 60,000 feet, and can stay airborne for more than 30 hours.