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Military Drone Crashes After Rogue Flight to Colorado


Military Drone Crashes After Rogue Flight to Colorado

The US Army lost communication with the drone, known as Shadow, which flew for more than 600 miles before crashing in the Colorado Rockies.

A US military drone went rogue during a training mission in Arizona in January, with the Shadow RQ-7 flying more than 600 miles before crashing in the Colorado Rockies.

The Shadow is designed for reconnaissance and is launched from a trailer-mounted catapult, which crews did during a training mission at the US Army's Fort Huachuca on Jan. 31, Stars and Stripes reports. But it all went south from there. The Army quickly lost control of the Shadow following the launch, and was unable to control it as it ventured north into Colorado.

The Army tracked the Shadow's position, but it dropped off the radar along the New Mexico-Colorado border, and hikers found the wreckage 10 days later in a mountainous area near the town of Evergreen, according to The Register.


The Shadow has been flying with the US Army and other militaries abroad for more than a decade, and it has racked up its fair share of mishaps. In 2014, a Shadow operated by the Pennsylvania Army National Guard crashed near an elementary school.

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What's unique about the January incident, however, is how far the drone strayed from its base before crashing. Its normal range is 77 miles, according to Stars and Stripes, which allows it to be constantly connected via a line-of-sight signal to a base station.

If the signal is interrupted, it's supposed to enter a holding pattern to reestablish the connection, or if that fails, return to its launch point, an Army spokesperson told Stars and Stripes. In this case, neither of those emergency failsafe mechanisms appears to have worked, and the drone flew for 623 miles before it finally crashed. The Army recovered the damaged Shadow from Colorado and is sending it back to Fort Huachuca.

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