Drones news

Air Force drones had a record number of crashes last year

Air Force drones had a record number of crashes last year
Air Force drones had a record number of crashes last year. The Air Force
<p><strong>The Air Force has a huge drone problem that&#39;s costing the military division a pretty penny. A total of 20 drones were completely destroyed or sustained at least $2 million in damages when they crashed in 2015, according to The Washington Post. </strong>That&#39;s the highest number of mishaps within a year so far, over twice the number of accidents in 2014. Half of those incidents involve the military&#39;s favorite surveillance and airstrike machine, the Reaper drone, which costs the Pentagon $14 million each when fully loaded.</p> <p>Investigators believe the downed Reapers crashed due to electrical problems caused by a faulty starter-generator, among other &quot;manufacturing quality issues.&quot; They were even able to point out the three parts of the generator most prone to conking out. Problem is, they can&#39;t figure out why. It&#39;s not only the Reaper that&#39;s suddenly been falling out of the skies, though. The Predator, the Reaper&#39;s cheaper ($4 million) predecessor, has also been getting into accidents recently. Incidents involving the Predator make up the other half of the 20 incidents last year -- the photos of one particular crash in Iraq even made the rounds on social media.</p> <p>Despite the increase in drone crashes, there&#39;s been no reported human casualty directly caused by these incidents. The machines have a battery that can power them for one more hour, and their pilots can use that time to steer them towards unpopulated locations. Still, this is a huge problem for the military&#39;s drone operations, especially since it also desperately needs more pilots. General Atomics (Reaper&#39;s and Predator&#39;s creator) is already done developing a more robust starter-generator, WP says. But for now, the Air Force has been fitting its existing Reapers with back-up batteries that give them 10 extra hours to make it to an airfield.</p>