WK050 drone lay wrecked at the bottom of a tree after the crash 110819 CREDIT Crown Copyright.jpg
UK

Military Drone Crashed Into A Tree In Wales, MOD Report Reveals

The Watchkeeper WK050 drone hit a tree on 13 June 2018.

WK050 drone lay wrecked at the bottom of a tree after the crash 110819 CREDIT Crown Copyright.jpg

The drone was a WK050 (Picture: Crown Copyright).

A military drone crashed after it landed beyond its planned touchdown point last summer, a report by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has revealed.

The Watchkeeper WK050 drone hit a tree on 13 June 2018, in the vicinity of a school in Aberporth.

Five drones out of a 54-strong fleet bought from Thales, a French firm, have been wrecked in crashes.

The MOD said action had been taken to address the issues.

The report follows a Freedom of Information (FOI) request and evidenced the system computer failed to register the drone had landed.

The WK050 had "landed long" of its touchdown point, but the system "auto-aborted as it approached the end of the runway".

Its engine then powered up and the drone "climbed away" and the pilot cut the engine at 12m above the ground.

After gliding over the road, the drone crashed into a tree 900m beyond the intended location.

The report also said had the crew of the aerial vehicle taken control, the drone "would have completed its automatic go-aroundĀ from which it could have been commanded to conduct a further approach".

The drone was being tested at West Wales Airport at Aberporth, Ceredigion.

"The MOD and Thales acknowledge the findings of the Watchkeeper investigations. Actions have already been taken to address issues identified in the reports and we are considering all of the recommendations," an MOD spokesperson said.

A Thales spokesman said it had "already addressed the vast majority of the recommendations".

"Unmanned aircraft systems like Watchkeeper are designed to keep our service people out of hostile environments," he said.

"Our ability to rigorously test their capabilities and meet the highest standards of testing and certification demanded of the UK's military aviation authorities means that we are ultimately able to deliver a safe system when deployed in operational situations."

Tags