US Navy drone goes AWOL over DC

The US Navy recently lost control of a drone that flew into restricted airspace around Washington, DC at an altitude of approximately 2,000 feet. 

According to the New York Times, the MQ-8B Fire Scout suffered from a relatively serious “software issue” that allowed it to stray within 40 miles of DC before operators recalled the wayward aircraft to a southern Maryland base.

“When they [operators] lose contact with the Fire Scout, there’s a program that’s supposed to have it immediately return to the airfield to land safely,” Navy spokesperson Cmdr. Danny Hernandez told the Times.

“That [obviously] did not happen as planned [with the MQ-8B Fire Scout].”

As such, the Navy grounded all six of their (local) Fire Scouts and launched an official inquiry into the incident.

The Fire Scout – manufactured by Northrop Grumman – is 31 feet long and 10 feet high.

The aircraft is typically deployed for surveillance missions and often takes off from Navy warships.