US Navy drone goes AWOL over DC

  • The US Navy recently lost control of a drone that flew into restricted airspace around Washington, DC at an altitude of approximately 2,000 feet. 

    According to the New York Times, the MQ-8B Fire Scout suffered from a relatively serious "software issue" that allowed it to stray within 40 miles of DC before operators recalled the wayward aircraft to a southern Maryland base.

    "When they [operators] lose contact with the Fire Scout, there’s a program that’s supposed to have it immediately return to the airfield to land safely," Navy spokesperson Cmdr. Danny Hernandez told the Times.

    "That [obviously] did not happen as planned [with the MQ-8B Fire Scout]."

    As such, the Navy grounded all six of their (local) Fire Scouts and launched an official inquiry into the incident.

    The Fire Scout - manufactured by Northrop Grumman - is 31 feet long and 10 feet high.

    The aircraft is typically deployed for surveillance missions and often takes off from Navy warships.