Back to Back US Drone Crashes In Turkey Come Amidst Severe Strain Between NATO Allies

Tyler Durden's picture

Two United States MQ-1 Predator drones have crashed in Turkey within four days, possibly cutting the Air Force's operational fleet of drones at NATO's main Turkish base down to half. This comes at a moment when the future of US drone operations in the region remain in question due to heightened political tensions with the Erdogan government and the uncertain future of the war in Syria. On Monday Turkey's Incirlik Air Base, which hosts US and other NATO personnel conducting operations over Syria and Iraq, released a statement confirming the crash of the drone in southeast Turkey at around 11:50 a.m. (0850 GMT), with no further details given.

Incirlik had confirmed an earlier Predator drone crash just last Thursday (8/17) near the air base. Last week's statement quoted a US military spokesman as saying:

“At this time the safety of our host nation civilians and the recovery and security of our asset is paramount,” said Col. David Eaglin, commander of the 39th Air Base Wing.  “Our Airmen train continuously to respond to incidents such as this, and we are working closely with our host nation partners to ensure this is resolved without conflict.”

Both incidents, which are being described in official statements as accidents, are currently under investigation. While no fatalities or injuries have been reported in connection with either crash, NATO's 39th Air Base Wing issued a notice to Turkish residents indicating that any possible property loss or damage claims could be submitted for potential reimbursement. Photos of the second crash quickly emerged on social media and appear to show a downed drone in a private corn field.

After the formal withdrawal of American troops from Iraq in 2011, the US Air Force negotiated the transfer of one combat air patrol unit (or PAC) of Predators to Incirlik. A PAC consists of a total of four drones, which theoretically allows for constant 24 hour aerial operations within a drone unit (one aircraft over the target area, one preparing to take over operations, one returning to refuel, and one in reserve).

Though it's unknown if the Air Force later added additional units, a Department of Defense internal briefing from 2013 indicates that the original memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the US and Turkey to allow a single drone unit transfer took five months to negotiate.

An unclassified slide from a 2013 DoD briefing on the original deployment of Predator drones to Incirlik. 

Assuming there was a single PAC in continued operation at Incirlik, this means the recent back to back crashes in southern Turkey have, at least temporarily, reduced the fleet by half. This comes at sensitive time for the US which desires to maintain a drone presence at the strategically located Turkish host base. The Air Force has further already planned to phase out the Predator drones, which are set to be completely replaced by the larger MQ-9 Reapers by 2018. 

But it's the rocky and worsening US-Turkish relationship which may ultimately deal a death blow for future Air Force drone operations out of Turkey. The two NATO allies are increasingly engaged in heightened diplomatic standoff over official US support for the Kurdish "People's Protection Units", more commonly known by the acronym YPG, which forms the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) operating in Syria. Turkey sees no distinction between the YPG and the PKK, which operates within Turkish borders and is designated a terrorist organization by both the US and Turkish government.

Last May the US rebuffed repeat Turkish requests not to move forward with arming the YPG - something widely seen as pushing Turkey into closer cooperation with Russia. The following month American officials announced plans to charge members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security service after they were filmed attacking protesters outside of the Turkish embassy in D.C. - further harming diplomatic relations. 

But perhaps the greatest outrage came in July, when Turkish state media leaked the locations of US bases in Syria, putting US special forces personnel and local partners on the ground at risk. A prominent American analyst described the incident as "a F-you” which threatened to permanently destroy US-Turkey cooperation in the Middle East. Furthermore, among the general Turkish public anti-Americanism has long been on the rise over the past years, and US drones falling from the sky over inhabited areas will not make things any better. 

With ISIS now in retreat, and with both the Iraqi and Syrian governments looking increasingly confident in terms of regaining their sovereign territory, it is unclear what purpose US drones in Turkey will serve other than to prop up the SDF in Syria. This is something Turkey already sees as intolerable - the latest drone crashes could signal the beginning of the end for such operations at Incirlik.

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Lore's picture

Same bullshit, different country. Get out of there.

JohninMK's picture

Bit of a hassle but surely they can just operate them out of a US base a bit further away?

HowdyDoody's picture

USAF drones falling out of the sky, USN ships crashing into tankers, cruise missiles missing the target en masse by 10s if not 100s of km. Then we have the Zumwalt and the F-35 waiting in the wings. The enemy are dying in droves - dying of laughter.


Veritas X-'s picture

Considering the probability of occurrence of 2 preds & 2 destroyers crashing , I'm inclined to remember all of those Russian diplomats dying in a relatively short period of time.

Don't forget a highly advanced surveillance EQ-4 GLOBAL HAWK DRONE crashed in the Mediterranean in June:

The causes, statistically speaking are obvious.

I say it's EW-Electronic Warfare , russian tech style.

Glad to see 'the good guys' finally responding.

Na Zdorovie Tovarishch!!!


Son of Thor's picture

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do...

silverer's picture

Post your tax return, asshole.

HalinCA's picture

Our GPS systems have been 'spoofable' for years ... still no solution ...  can't wait to see it applied to the other side ...

War and Fleece's picture


This happened before a few years back. They've got tech to completely disable our surface naval vessels. Read about it. Another collision in the Pacific and now we have drones crashing. They could be mounting tech on stealth subs, and have a more pinpointed assault for Sky targets like the drones.

Im always astonished how we can be so cock sure of everything, including our missile defense. Go read about the Ufo testimonials of nuclear silo operators and missile technicians who watched their missiles go black/inoperable after Ufo intervention.

We think we are the only ones with clandestine defense projects...

It will be terrifying to see what means of destruction exist currently, and they won't be unveiled til someone scorches the earth prior... But they will be unveiled. God help us all at that point.

Kublai's picture

How about operating them out of a US base a lot further away... say back in the USSA?

uhland62's picture

But someone wants to make money from Turks so you must enforce economic compliance. Turkey in NATO, double standards. The spats with Germany would fill whole books. 

BritBob's picture

Severe strain between NATO allies?

Ceuta: an unofficial Russian naval ‘base’ in the Strait of Gibraltar? Right-wing groups in the US and UK criticize frequent stopovers in the Spanish enclave

(El Pais, March 2016)

Spanish Guardia Civil vessel Rio Cedena twice tried to disrupt the visit by ballistic missile sub USS Florida as it was approaching the British Overseas Territory on the southern tip of Spain.

According to the 
Sun, the incident has caused outrage among senior officials in Gibraltar with one 'top source' saying: 'This is not only a very dangerous game for the Spanish to play but it is unbecoming of a NATO ally to treat the US Navy with such contempt.'

(Daily Mail 6 May 2016)


Looks like Spain will try and play the Gibraltar card  (A worthless sovereignty claim): Gibraltar - Some Relevant International Law:

Gibraltar is an important NATO base.


Vageling's picture

ShitBob bringing his compulsive obsession again. Maybe they should put you on those "happy pills"... Then you'll talk about flying pink elephants and shiny colors. 

Sugarcandy Mountain's picture

He's using the Daily Fail as a source... hahahaha!

Hey Bob, nobody fucking cares. I haven't heard the mention of Malvinas from any Brit anywhere in the world since Thatcher started a conflict with the Argentinians over it to prop up her flagging re-election chances. Ditto Gibraltar.

You are, literally, the only person on this planet who cares.

silverer's picture

Just a big rock. Important to the Prudential Insurance company.

BarkingCat's picture

It's PedoBob again. He must have found a few spare minutes to pull out of some little boy's ass. 

None of those islands are yours and get the fuck out of Northern Ireland you worthless piece of shit.


tuetenueggel's picture

Gibraltar is nothing but a monkey rock full of monkey turds.

harrybrown's picture

We're witnessing the fall of the Empire.... But what & who will replace it?

Or are we all being conned yet again by The Chosenites!

Bingo Hammer's picture

Always conned but are they losing their grip on the hoped for outcomes? eg the leftist crazies they have unleashed in the US have started doing many unplanned/unscheduled/unforeseen things that are leading to a utter collapse that "they" may not be able to control... 

sinbad2's picture

"But what & who will replace it?"


Hopefully nobody, one nation holding the rest of the world to ransom, is a crime against humanity, on a massive scale.

tuetenueggel's picture

maybe the kikes will rule the world ?-?-?

Bingo Hammer's picture

"Untraceable" deniability.....decapitated drones one day, rammed boats the next....US global hegemony is ending fast it would seem, no?

reload's picture

It does seem that the supremacy of US / NATO hardware is probably a MSM myth. I am sure if the western powers had been rendering Russian or Chineese ships, blind and rudderless - we would have heard about it.

But all we read of is - crashed drones / collided ships / Navy sailors scared witless by Russian aircraft. Thsis is bad for business. India and Pakistan were put on notice last night by President Trump - that they will be buying lots of US arms though - for the `fight against terrorism`.

Also, I think many beleive that a lot of the Tomohawks recently fired at Syria landed somewhat `off target`.

To the casual bystander it does look as if US militay hardware might be unreliable / vulnerable to advanced electronic jamming techniques. Definately bad for business.

HowdyDoody's picture

Nah, in wars of choice, such failure is good for business. The US military just has to keep ordering moar and moar. Moar and moar means moar profit.

In wars of necessity, ie actual defense, it is bad, very, very bad. Maybe this is why Russia is actually reducing its military expenditure. Maybe they feel Russia has sufficient capable force to defend itself against NATO and to take the action to USUK if TSHTF?



new game's picture

hey, just a "broken" window. nothing a $ trillion of created treasuries can't replace.

stiiiiiiiiiiiimulas, jobs, growth, and most of all, high tech for MIC. yeah, baaaaaby, makin merica great, one killing machine at a tyme...

Pliskin's picture

American Ships, American planes, American Helicopters, American Drones ... all overpriced, poorly built, shit, failing on a weekly basis.

MAGA - My arse!

indygo55's picture

I think the Russians and the Chinese have some new weapons they are trying out. The ships were one test, first in the Black sea and now in the Asian waters. These rammings are too suspicious to be accidents. These drones are hardened and have programs that when the pilot loses control they fly home and land. Two crashes tells me there is way more then accidents going on. We may be witnessing the end of the US global military hegemony before our eyes.



sinbad2's picture

The drone that Iran brought down, and a South Korean civilian plane that went of course, led me to believe that someone has developed a way to hack, or spoof the GPS system, and making most US weapons useless. US sailors entering Iranian waters is another example of inaccurate navigation by US forces.

Now it could just be incompetence, with the pay American servicemen receive being so low, many qualify for food stamps, it wouldn't attract high achievers.

silverer's picture

That means the MIT degrees the Chinese students received in the US were worth the money? But the jobs aren't in the US.

China and Russia: 1. US: 0.

tuetenueggel's picture

and it will go on like this.......

roadhazard's picture

It is too much of a coincidence. I'm going with cyber war until I see different.

ItsAllBollocks's picture


Undisclosed sources stating unnamed officials from an unknown NATO base confirmed today two unknown US fighters collided over unamed territory. It is unknown who, if any injuries were reported. An unnamed NATO spokesperson sugested possible links to unknown shipwrecks in unnamed locations in the South Pacific. An investigation by unknown officials will be undertaken at an undisclosed time and it is unknown if a report will be made public.

holgerdanske's picture

It looks as if they have moved the navy guys to the air force!.

Must be Russian hacking!.



Catahoula's picture

Soetero and his band of Muslims and left fags destroyed the military

Txpl9421's picture

Ships going blind. Drones falling from the skies. Embassy officials targeted with audio weapons.

Not to worry. Everything is alright.

Look! Over there. The Taliban!

White Devil's picture

Derka Derka fail bot.

sinbad2's picture

Do you think that maybe China or Russia is causing these accidents by manipulating the GPS system.

The US heavily relies on GPS and China letting the US know that it can crash or cause US weapons to fail, might be an attempt to stop Americas march to WWIII.

Obsidian Samctum's picture

That would be foolish to unveil such capabilites without sn actual war. Thats like playing poker with your cards showing for your opponent to see.

Accidents happen.

sinbad2's picture

Agreed, but if the US goes to war, and it looks like losing, all the anthrax/bubonic plague bombs and nerve gas bombs will be released, and all mammalian life on earth could be extinguished.

So by warning the US that it would lose WWIII, it might just stop the US from starting WWIII.

Even if the US knows that China can control the GPS system, it would take at least a decade for the US to come up with an alternative. A decade from now the US will be back where it started, pillaging Latin America, and not a threat to the whole world.

BarkingCat's picture

No, you do not reveal things like that.  It allows the enemy to develop countermeasures. 

Let look at a scenario.  If China is able to disable US weapon systems and a war starts, the war would be over very quickly.

Most of US Navy would be sitting at the bottom of whatever sea or ocean they were sailing on day one. The others would join them as soon as a Chinese got to them.

The US Air Force would not be flying because any plane that was not crashed at the start of the conflict, would be grounded.

If China was able to neutralize US military assets, then the US could not deliver the biological weapons to China, unless of course they already have them in place in the cities.

Still, with over a billion people, China could lose triple the current US population and still be one if the world's most populous nations.



sinbad2's picture

All modern US weapons would fail, but the old Minuteman nukes etc use inertial guidance, you don't need accuracy with NBC(NuclearBiologicalChemical) weapons.

HarryKallahan's picture

You don't need GPS to look out the window to see the OIL TANKER coming straight at you.

Plenty of time to see it.

Plenty of time to manuever.

It's basic seamanship... applies to a rowboat as well as a warship... ALWAYS keep a lookout.

Human error, hands down.

sinbad2's picture

Yes, but so many today will believe the screen rather than their own eyes or brain.

You are of course right, always have lookouts, but if there were lookouts, destroyers would not steam across the bows of freighters.

tuetenueggel's picture

while you´re asleep. you look out of a window to see tankers or container vessels ?

I don´t and so did US Shitgerald.

south40_dreams's picture

We have so many America hating leftist leakers in our .gov that hacking is highly likely in these drone crashes and the navy ship collisions

roddy6667's picture

You can change the course of a drone or even land it by sending stronger GPS signals than the target is receiving from the satellites. Iran did this with an American drone and immediately called up China to come have a looksee. They sent engineers. In a few months China had a perfect reverse-engineered copy for their own use. There is a theory that GPS spoofing was the cause of two US Navy "acidents" that happened recently.

smacker's picture

"Iran did this with an American drone and immediately called up China to come have a looksee."

I remember that incident a while back. Apparently the only hiccup the Iranians had was in the altitude of the drone which caused it to have a minor crash landing on Iranian soil. But the drone was not too damaged and I bet they've perfected the art since then.

shimmy's picture

The new droner in chief. Swamp draining!

A. Boaty's picture

I told them not to wash it.

Arrest Hillary's picture

It's not the stupid Muslims .... it's our own embedded leftists .... the ones that gave us Likeable Ike .... instead of Victorious Mac Arthur ?