SDF loses contact with reconnaissance drone

Japan's Defense Ministry says the country's Self-Defense Forces have lost contact with a reconnaissance drone off the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima during an exercise.

The missing ScanEagle, a mini unmanned aerial vehicle, is operated by the Ground Self-Defense Force.

Ministry officials say contact with the ScanEagle was lost at around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Japan time, over waters southeast of Tanegashima Island.

The UAV has a wing span of just over 3 meters and is about 1.4 meters long. It reportedly weighs more than 13 kilograms.

The ministry believes the UAV may have crashed into the sea, and is searching the area using Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels.

The Ground Self-Defense Force began full-scale use of UAVs in 2019. A ScanEagle is said to cost more than 2 million dollars.