The Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe has lost contact with a Schiebel S-100 Camcopter unmanned air vehicle that was carrying out surveillance missions over Ukraine.
The OSCE confirms that on 3 February the Ukrainian Special Monitoring Mission lost contact with the vehicle 16km (10 miles) north of Mariupol – 96km south of the Russian backed rebel-held Donetsk region – which it is still in the process of locating.
In addition, on 2 February another Camcopter returned from a mission with a hole in the rotorblade, which the OSCE believes to be the result of small arms fire. It is currently in the process of being fixed, the organisation says.
Two systems consisting of four aircraft were based in Ukraine to provide a 24/7 surveillance capability to the mission, which with the recent incidents halves the number of vehicles currently available.
However, the OSCE says the surveillance coverage can still be maintained with the reduced number of vehicles, although weather conditions and the presence of enemy fire can affect it.
Flightglobal previously reported that the SMM's Camcopter had been the target of both gunfire and enemy jamming, but until now it had not lost a vehicle.
On 13 August Schiebel was contracted on an indefinite month-by-month basis to provide 24h surveillance to the OSCE’s Ukraine mission, which it began carrying out in October.