Sunday, September 27, 2009

Drones Gone Rogue

For the third time, that we know about, an american drone didn't exactly perform it's intended mission in the colonies, two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. All three were different types.
On September 14 a U.S. Air Force Predator crashed in central Iraq. Yesterday a Shadow drone slammed into an office building in Mosul:

"The unmanned aerial reconnaissance vehicle crashed into the local office of the Iraqi Islamic Party in Mosul, an area the U.S. military has called the last stronghold of al-Qaida in Iraq.
Drones have been a mainstay of the U.S. war effort, offering round-the-clock airborne "eyes" watching over road convoys and tracking insurgent movements and occasionally unleashing missiles on a target.
The U.S. military identified the crashed drone as a Shadow model, which is routinely used in areas like Mosul to track insurgents planting explosives and does not carry weapons.
There was no immediate indication the drone was shot down and the cause of the crash was under investigation, said Maj. Derrick Cheng, a U.S. military spokesman. There were no reports of injuries.
Cheng said the drone struck the party office at about 7 a.m., damaging the roof of the building."


On September 13 a Reaper in Afghanistan developed a mind of it's own:

"Apparently the pilots of an unmanned, but armed, MQ-9 Reaper drone lost control of the UAV a few days ago. The resulting manned mission to take it down was mounted almost immediately and ended successfully before the drone reached the edges of Afghanistan's airspace."

Apparently troubles with these aircraft are fairly common so the news reports claim. To me that 's either a cover story to smooth over public relations as drones are rushed into service or the natives are getting good at scrambling communications.
In any case the US military ♥ it's unmanned flying toys, three months ago it started training more operators to fly them than training fighter or bomber pilots.
Cost of the War in Iraq
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