Found some information when the Navy lost control of the drone over D.C. airspace in 2010.
Navy Drone Violated Washington Airspace
August 25, 2010
WASHINGTON — The skies over the nation’s capital are crowded with presidential aircraft, military flyovers and the Delta shuttle, but this month a strange new bird was briefly among them: a United States Navy drone that wandered into the restricted airspace around Washington before operators could stop it.
Navy spokesmen could not say Wednesday if anyone on the ground was alarmed by the drone — officially an MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing unmanned aerial vehicle — which looks like a small windowless helicopter and was flying at 2,000 feet. The Navy did say that the drone got within 40 miles of Washington before operators were able to re-establish communication and guide it back to its base in southern Maryland.
Still, the Aug. 2 incident resulted in the grounding of all six of the Navy’s Fire Scouts as well as an inquiry into what went wrong. The Navy is calling the problem a “software issue” that foiled the drone’s operators.
Or, as Cmdr. Danny Hernandez, a Navy spokesman, put it: “When they lose contact with the Fire Scout, there’s a program that’s supposed to have it immediately return to the airfield to land safely. That did not happen as planned.”
Navy spokesmen said the Fire Scout, made by Northrop Grumman, was a little more than an hour into a test flight operating out of Naval Air Station Patuxent River on the Chesapeake Bay when operators lost its control link. The drone then flew 23 miles on a north-by-northwest course to enter Washington’s restricted airspace. A half-hour later, Navy spokesmen said, operators re-established control and the drone landed safely back at Patuxent.
The Navy did not describe the scene inside the ground control station as operators sought to re-establish communication with the drone.
The Fire Scout, about 31 feet long and 10 feet high, is a surveillance aircraft that can take off from Navy warships. In April, a Fire Scout was part of a drug arrest in the waters off Central America. According to the Navy, the Fire Scout relayed video of a suspicious fishing vessel to the Coast Guard and law enforcement officials, who moved in and seized 60 kilos of cocaine.
Edited by duffy98, 31 October 2013 - 03:17 AM.