According to the Washington Post investigation, More than 400 large U.S. military drones have crashed between 2001 and 2015
The Pentagon has shrouded the extent of the problem and kept details of most of the crashes a secret.
The Post’s year-long investigation, however, raises questions about drone safety, identifying 418 major crashes involving U.S. military drones between September 2001 and the end of 2013.
According to Air Force safety statistics, the drone crash total is almost equivalent to the number of crashes involving Air Force fighter jets and attack planes over the same period. The drones, however, flew far fewer hours and missions, according to the statistics.
The research found that 194 of the drone crashes were defined by the military as “Class A accidents” that destroyed the aircraft or caused $2 million of damage. Just over half of those accidents took place in Iraq and Afghanistan, while almost a quarter occurred in the U.S.
Some 224 drones crashed in “Class B accidents”, according to the Washington Post report, each costing between $500,000 and $2 million. There were no fatalities in the 418 crashes surveyed.
Drone safety challenges identified by the investigation include limited ability to detect and avoid trouble, pilot error, persistent mechanical defects and unreliable communications links.
The report has revealed the Reaper drone has been hit with an unprecedented number of technical problems, causing the 2.5-tonne craft to fall from the sky. Electrical faults have beset the craft, causing 20 large Air Force drones to be destroyed or sustain at least $2 million in damage in accidents last year, the worst annual toll ever, it claims. Ten Reapers, each costing an estimated $14m, were badly damaged or destroyed in 2015, at least twice as many as in any previous year, according to Air Force safety data.
‘Military drones have slammed into homes, farms, runways, highways, waterways and, in one case, an Air Force C-130 Hercules transport plane in midair,’ it says.
‘No one has died in a drone accident, but the documents show that many catastrophes have been narrowly averted, often by a few feet, or a few seconds, or pure luck. ‘
The documents reveal a $3.8 million Predator carrying a Hellfire missile crashed near Kandahar in January 2010 because the pilot did not realize she had been flying the aircraft upside-down. Another armed Predator crashed nearby after the pilot did not notice he had squeezed the wrong red button on his joystick, putting the plane into a spin, the Post says.
While most of the malfunctioning aircraft have perished in combat zones, dozens have been destroyed in the United States during test and training flights that have gone awry.
In April, a 375-pound Army drone crashed next to an elementary-school playground in Pennsylvania, just a few minutes after students went home for the day.
Apart from High number of crash rate US drone command center was also COMPROMISED when Iran Managed to Hack 7 military drones
Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh has revealed that Iran managed to obtain control over “seven to eight drones” flying over Syria and Iraq
The agency published video footage claiming that it had been shot by the US drones that were allegedly hacked by Iran.