During a military exercise last November, a drone crashed into a US Navy battleship carrying 300 crewmen, injuring two sailors and causing $30 million in damages.
The USS Chancellorsville was stationed near Point Mugu, California at the time of the incident.
The initial Navy Times report specified that the incident occurred during a training exercise involving a routine radar test. The 13-foot drone, a Northrop Grumman BQM-74, crashed into the port side of the Chancellorsville, which “was heavily damaged by the impact of a test target.”
The drone “crippled a key computer center integral to the ship’s cutting-edge combat systems.”
Although BQM-74 drones usually have a feature intended to keep the machine from colliding with a naval vessel, even when control is lost, it remains unclear whether or not this particular capability had been activated.
Sailors were given a mere four-second warning before drone operators realized they had lost control over the drone. As an unnamed crewman told the Navy Times, “There was just a breakdown in communications…and the ship had no time to react.”
The two injured sailors were treated for minor burns, although the Navy did not specify as to how the individuals were injured.
Despite the damage, the Chancellorsville was able to make it back to its home port of San Diego in the days following the crash.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Recent reports indicate that the Navy will need about six months to repair the ship.
Sources: The Malibu Times, RT.com
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