The Iraqi Al-Furqan media arm of the “Islamic State of Iraq” insurgency group has released a video of insurgents handling a US Army AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven mini UAV which the group claims to have shot down (below).

However the UAV is clearly undamaged by weapons fire and is more likely to have been lost due to either battery failure or a normal landing conducted outside secure areas held by Coalition forces.

The air vehicle is largely intact with the forward payload module still attached. The battery is missing from the forward fuselage compartment and there is no sign of it on the ground in the area around the airframe.

The staining around the interior of the battery compartment is normal with older air vehicles of this class.

The US Army fields a large number of Raven’s in the Iraq theatre. In some circumstances those air vehicles are purposely allowed to be lost during operations given the value of imagery they are providing versus opportunities for returning the air vehicle to a safe recovery zone. The UAV has an endurance of around 80 minutes.

The strength of the all composite Raven airframe is also indicated by it apparently withstanding taking the weight of a human foot on the forward fuselage, and by the tail section disassembling at the existing clip joints when kicked.