The US Army has lost the RQ-7Bv2 Shadow unmanned aerial vehicle during a training mission at Fort Huachuca.
The incident occurred during a test of the new RQ-7Bv2 Shadow reconnaissance drone at a landfill of the Fort Huachuca military base, located in the south of Arizona. According to a press release, issued by US military, the UAV, worth $1.5 million, lost contact with a ground control station and flew far beyond the military base. The search for the drone was being conducted for nine days, as the RQ-7Bv2 Shadow is capable to stay aloft for nine hours and can cover a distance of 109 kilometers during this time.
As spokesman for the 7th Infantry Division, Lt. Col. Fredrick Williams said, US military asked police and representatives of public organizations for help, but this did not help. Nine days later, a casual tourist found the UAV in the mountains of Colorado. The drone was stuck in a tree and lost its wing during a ‘hard landing’.
The intrigue lies in the fact that military experts still do not understand how the UAV got there, as there are 970 kilometers between the military base and the place, where the RQ-7Bv2 Shadow was found, that is much greater than the declared range capability of the aerial vehicle. However, this capability is determined by possibilities of communication with the device that means that the range capability in free flight can be much greater that was revealed during the incident.
During nine days, ground services and air defense teams did not manage to find the unidentified aerial vehicle of impressive sizes, which was airborne.
The RQ-7Bv2 Shadow UAV has a length of 3.4 meters and a wingspan of 6.1 meters. The drone, whose maximum takeoff weight is 204.1 kilograms, is equipped with a small-sized reciprocating engine, producing 38 horsepower. The UAV is capable of speeds up to 204 kilometers per hour.
It is not the first time, when US military chase their own uncontrollable aerial vehicles. In October 2015, a similar incident occurred during tests of the JLENS supervisory aerostat at the Aberdeen landfill. A steel-wire rope broke, and the aerostat started an ‘autonomous flight’, dragging scraps of the rope at low altitude. During several hours, US military chased the aerial vehicle, and at this time the rope’s scrap shorted out several power lines. In the end, the aerostat was caught, and though hundreds of houses were left without electricity, there were no victims and casualties.