November 20, 2013 by Kris Osborn - defensetech.org
Authorities and Navy officials are investigating the cause of an accident this past Saturday off the coast of Southern California wherein a small unmanned aircraft system crashed into a Navy cruiser, the USS Chancellorsville, service officials confirmed.
The drone was being used as part of a training exercise when it malfunctioned above the surface, crashing down into the ship, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Two sailors suffered minor burns in the incident, Navy officials told the paper.
Sailors aboard the ship were using the drone to test the ship’s radar tracking system. The USS Chancellorsville is an Aegis cruiser meaning it is equipped with ballistic missile defense technology, including radar. The crew of the ship was performing what’s called Combat System Ship Qualification Trials, according to the U.S. Naval Institute News.
The damaged ship is now on its way back to San Diego for further analysis, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The 13-foot target drone is a Northrop Grumman BMQ-74 hit areas near the ship’s Command Information Center, or CIC, according to U.S. Naval Institute News. The CIC is one of the most armored areas of the ship as it houses the control room for the Aegis radar system, USNI stated.
The operator of the BQM-74 lost control of the drone during the test before it struck the ship, USNI added.