The Navy has suspended target drone exercises in the wake of Saturday’s mishap where a drone punctured the hull of cruiser Chancellorsville during a tracking exercise off Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, Calif., according to one media report.
An unnamed official with the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division told the Ventura County Star newspaper that officials suspended all operations involving the BQM-74E drone, the type that drilled a hole into Chancellorsville’s port side, as well as the BQM-34S drone, which uses the same control system.
A spokesperson for NAWCWD was not able to immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
The suspension comes as investigators determine what caused the target drone to crash at high speed into the Chancellorsville, an accident that left two sailors with minor burns treated on board. The incident has raised questions about the safety of the targeting drone operations used to test ship’s radar, gun and missile systems.
It is believed to be the most serious mishap involving a target drone in three decades, since the Feb. 10, 1983, incident when splinters from an incoming drone struck the frigate Antrim, setting off a fire that killed a civilian professor on board.http://www.navytimes.com/article/20131120/NEWS04/311200013