Bloomberg study: Drones most accident-prone Air Force craftThe Air Force's long-range surveillance drone known as the Global Hawk is among the top three most accident-prone aircraft in the fleet, according to a new Bloomberg report.
Published: June 18, 2012Smoke billows from the site where an aircraft crashed near Nanticoke, Md., on Monday, June 11, 2012. The Navy says the unmanned aircraft on a routine maintenance flight crashed on Maryland's Eastern Shore and there are no injuries.
AP PHOTO/THE DAILY TIMES, KEITH GOLDSBOROUGH
The U.S. military’s three biggest drones, made by Northrop Grumman Corp. and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., are the most accident-prone aircraft in the Air Force fleet.
The BGOV Barometer shows Northrop’s Global Hawk and General Atomics’s Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles have had a combined 9.31 accidents for every 100,000 hours of flying. That’s the highest rate of any category of aircraft and more than triple the fleet-wide average of 3.03, according to military data compiled by Bloomberg.
The June 11 crash of a drone near Bloodsworth Island on Maryland’s Eastern Shore illustrated the vehicles’ propensity for accidents, known as “mishaps” in military parlance. The concern is that drones’ safety record won’t improve as they’re increasingly deployed for testing, border surveillance and other missions in U.S. airspace, said Jay Stanley, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington.
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