UPDATED: Did a French UAV Crash in Somalia?

The Somali Islamist group al Shabab posted a series of Tweets earlier today claiming that an American drone had crashed south of Mogadishu near the town of Bulo-Marer, near where French commandos failed in their attempt to free a kidnapped French intelligence officer this past January.

The initial tweets claimed that “The Mujahideen intelligence teams have gathered the wreckage of the drone and transferred it to a safe location,” followed several hours later by actual pictures of wreckage. While there were no markings identifying the debris as American, one of the pics does show a piece of equipment labeled “Schiebel” — which is an Austrian company that makes UAVs and mine detectors.

Scheibel is known to have sold its “Camcopter” to several international customers, including the UAE, Jordan, and China, while France, Germany and Spain have conducted extensive trials flying the bird from ships at sea.

Schiebel’s Camcopter S-100 UAV is a Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft with a range of about 200 km that can operate at altitudes of about 18,000 ft., according to information on the company’s web site. It can also carry payloads of up to 75 lbs. up to 10 hours.

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Paul McLeary

McLeary covers national security policies at the White House, Pentagon, the Hill, and State Department.
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