Does a U.S. Drone Have a Self-Destruct?

08.12.11

Categorie: Air, David Axe, Robots |
Tags: , ,

Bryan William Jones photo.

Bryan William Jones photo.

by DAVID AXE

That’s what Slate just asked me, P.W. Singer and John Pike from Globalsecurity.org. The answer is yes, probably. From Slate:

As reporter David Axe discussed in his book War Bots: How U.S. Military Robots Are Transforming War in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Future, the Pentagon was able to destroy its first generation of unmanned spy planes by remote control, in case they fell  into enemy hands. And the feature really worked: Axe reports that pilots accidentally blew up a Northrop Grumman Global Hawk prototype during a 1999 test. The RQ-170 that went down in Iran last week probably had a self-destruct mechanism as well. The technology isn’t foolproof, though. If the plane lost contact with the ground, the self-destruct button wouldn’t work. Even when onboard explosives detonate, they don’t always completely destroy the vehicle. When drones have gone down in the past, the military has sent in manned attack jets to finish the job.

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4 Responses to “Does a U.S. Drone Have a Self-Destruct?”

  1. [...] World Politics Review: Are Unmanned Airplanes the U.S. Air Force’s Salvation? Wired Danger Room: Can Robot Planes Save the Air Force? Wired Danger Room: Killer Drone’s Iraq Debut Wired Danger Room: Manned UAVs for Afghanistan Surge? Wired Danger Room: More Drones = More Demand for Spies Combat Aircraft: Fear the Reaper Mental_Floss magazine: July_August 2008 Wired Danger Room: Pentagon Swaps Killer Drone for Hollywood Access. Wired Danger Room: Chief U.S. drone maker tapped out. War is Boring: Senator Shines Some Sunlight On U.S. Killer Drone Ops World Politics Review: Pakistan Drone Campaign Might Expand Despite Risks War is Boring: Pakistan Drone Campaign Might Expand Despite Risks War is Boring: “Predator C” Robo-Fighter Takes Flight War is Boring: Killer Droves Now Officially Fighters (Air Force Steps Back From The Edge) Offiziere.ch: The Emerging U.S. Counter-Insurgency Air Force War is Boring: Obama Administration Mum on Civilian Dead in Drone Strikes War is Boring: Imagining the “Air Force After Next” Offiziere.ch: Imagining the “Air Force After Next” Wired Danger Room: 10 Sci-Fi Weapons That Actually Exist Wired Danger Room: Air Force Wants Drones to Sense Other Planes’ ‘Intent’ Wired Danger Room: Exclusive: Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet War is Boring: Drones in Congo? War is Boring: Does a U.S. Drone have a self destruct? [...]

  2. [...] Iranians could possess a mostly undamaged Sentinel, when all large U.S. drones are equipped with multiple self-destruct systems. “On the X-45A and C, we went to considerable lengths to have that capability — both [...]

  3. [...] was am Abschusstag schief lief. Anhand der beinahe unversehrten Drohne und die Tatsache, dass die Selbstzerstörung der Drohne nicht ausgelöst wurde, legt die Vermutung nahe, dass die Drohne mittels elektronischer Störung [...]

  4. Offiziere.ch says:

    [...] was am Abschusstag schief lief. Anhand der beinahe unversehrten Drohne und die Tatsache, dass die Selbstzerstörung der Drohne nicht ausgelöst wurde, legt die Vermutung nahe, dass die Drohne mittels elektronischer Störung [...]

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