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Two Sailors Injured When Drone Crashes Into US Navy Guided Missile Cruiser

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the off-target dept.

The Military 109

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "CNN reports that two sailors were hurt when a drone malfunctioned and crashed into the Chancellorsville, a 567-foot Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, as the ship operated off the Point Mugu area of Southern California in an area where BQM-74E aerial targets are widely used. The drone was being used to test the ship's radar tracking when it malfunctioned, veered out of control and struck the cruiser. 'No sailors were seriously injured, but two sailors were treated for minor burns,' the Navy said in a statement. 'The ship remains capable of operations. However, it did sustain some damage and will return to its homeport of San Diego to have the damage assessed. The Navy is investigating the cause of the malfunction.' Chancellorsville has one of the most advanced air defense systems in the Navy, and the ship regularly tests missiles off Southern California. In late August, Chancellorsville successfully used an SM-6 missile to hit a target drone off Point Mugu. The cruiser stocks a variety of missiles, including Tomahawks."

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Was it using Japamese components? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45454099)

... From the Kama-Ke Tse factory?

No it was using Chimese components (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45454139)

from Ching Chong Sing Song. Thanks Obama.

Re:Was it using Japamese components? (4, Funny)

Jawnn (445279) | about 9 months ago | (#45454205)

No. It was using components provided by a company call Cyberdyne Systems.

Re:Was it using Japamese components? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45455259)

For real? No shit, Sherlock!

You don't think the IP was slightly ironic?

Re:Was it using Japamese components? (2)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 9 months ago | (#45454245)

No, it was using components provided by the over funded military industrial complex.

Re:Was it using Japamese components? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#45454317)

Naw, it was just taken by a divine wind.

Re:Was it using Japamese components? (1)

rnturn (11092) | about 9 months ago | (#45454737)

Analysts are still searching for the source of the bit pattern:

01000010010000010100111001011010010000010100100100100001

in the telemetry received just before impact.

Re:Was it using Japamese components? (1)

gmanterry (1141623) | about 9 months ago | (#45457351)

Analysts are still searching for the source of the bit pattern:

01000010010000010100111001011010010000010100100100100001

in the telemetry received just before impact.

So it was Japanese.
01000010010000010100111001011010010000010100100100100001 translates to BANZAI!

Re: Was it using Japamese components? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45455581)

Johnny cab as when It fails with a x
carsh with an explosion

Radar Tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45454113)

Can you track me now?

Hold on here! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45454129)

The question needs to be asked: "Exactly WHO was guiding that missile cruiser?"

It may not be the person who was flying the drone!

Don't the people guiding the missile cruisers and the drone pilots sit in the same room somewhere in Colorado?

Re:Hold on here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45454211)

Yeah but there were free picked-over muffin remnants in the breakroom!!

FREE MUFFINS!

Sheesh, I leave the console for like 2 seconds and everyone freaks out, I'm going to the washroom to play tetris on my phone for 20 minutes while you chill out

Re:Hold on here! (4, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 9 months ago | (#45454453)

Actually - the drone was NOT being controlled by anyone aboard the ship. At least one article that I read specified that the drone was operated from a shore station. TFA doesn't make mention of that fact.

To put things in perspective - the ship's capability to detect and intercept stealth aircraft was being put to the test. The cruiser didn't have control of the drone, because that would have been "cheating". Instead, another command activity was responsible for the drone, ensuring that the cruiser's personnel had to do the actual work of spotting it, and calculating "kill" shots on it. Standard routine for ship's gunnery and missile exercises since long before I served.

Re:Hold on here! (5, Funny)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 9 months ago | (#45455093)

...the ship's capability to detect and intercept stealth aircraft was being put to the test.

I'd say they found it and I suppose you could say the Chancellorsville "intercepted" it too.

Re:Hold on here! (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 9 months ago | (#45456097)

And yet their defences proved futile to the surprise kamikaze attack... How did they know it wasn't hacked and controlled by terrorists from Atlantis? Or Pacifica for that matter?

Proving once again, nothing is safe to fly without TSA agents screening all those on board.

Re:Hold on here! (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 9 months ago | (#45456815)

And yet their defences proved futile to the surprise kamikaze attack...

It was likely not a live-fire exercise. As such, a "kill" wouldn't have stopped it. It was identified as a "friend", even though treated as a "foe" for the exercise. The real defenses were not activated.

well... (1)

cosmin_c (3381765) | about 9 months ago | (#45454169)

Honey, I'm home!

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45454251)

Heeeer's Jhonny!

Re:well... (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 9 months ago | (#45454465)

Number Five, NOT alive...

A matter of time (5, Funny)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 9 months ago | (#45454171)

Its just a matter of time, keep firing on those drones and eventually they will fight back.

Re:A matter of time (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 9 months ago | (#45456109)

s/dones/Cylons/gi

Appropriate (-1, Flamebait)

Reliable Windmill (2932227) | about 9 months ago | (#45454175)

I find this to be the best and most appropriate use of U.S weaponized drones; to have them turn back and crash into the operators.

It damaged a warship? (1)

seeker_1us (1203072) | about 9 months ago | (#45454231)

It's a 3 ton low speed aircraft crashing into an armored cruiser by definition designed to be shot at with things like shells and missiles and bombs and torpedoes. Surpising.

Re:It damaged a warship? (1)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 9 months ago | (#45454259)

Are you kidding? Think for a minute here.

Re:It damaged a warship? (1)

dmar91 (2813927) | about 9 months ago | (#45454333)

I agree. Some injuries and damage are to be expected. It would be interesting to know how frequently drone control is lost, the total number of American service personnel injured and the value in dollars of damage done. Taken out of context, the report of one incident is not very informative.

Re:It damaged a warship? (5, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | about 9 months ago | (#45454311)

There's a difference between not sinking when struck by an object and being perfectly invulnerable to everything.

These ships are designed to simply stay afloat and remain at least partially operational if struck, not have some kind of magic force field that stops even the paintwork being scratched if struck.

This is the real world, not fantasy land. A 3 ton aircraft crashing into a warship is still going to cause a fair bit of damage. We haven't invented completely invulnerable metal yet.

Re:It damaged a warship? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45454381)

From Wikipedia: [wikipedia.org]

They are recoverable, remote controlled, subsonic aerial target, capable of speeds up to Mach 0.86...

This ain't no Predator, that's one fast sucker. No wonder it was able to put some hurt on that ship.

Re:It damaged a warship? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#45455299)

Isn't it lucky that anti-ship missiles capable of speeds and maneuvers as great or greater, and equipped with explosive warheads and hostile intent aren't reasonably commonly available?

That sure would ruin our day...

Re:It damaged a warship? (2)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 9 months ago | (#45455629)

Isn't it lucky that anti-ship missiles capable of speeds and maneuvers as great or greater, and equipped with explosive warheads and hostile intent aren't reasonably commonly available?

This was an exercise to test the ship's radar systems and not a combat operation. During combat operations, the ships Phalanx anti-missile system [wikipedia.org] would have been active and is specifically designed to counter the threats you have mentioned.

Re:It damaged a warship? (2)

Flere Imsaho (786612) | about 9 months ago | (#45457523)

There's a difference between not sinking when struck by an object and being perfectly invulnerable to everything.

I dare say if the Phalanx CWS or anti-aircraft missile systems were active, that drone would have been turned into metal confetti long before it got anywhere near the ship.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalanx_CIWS [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIM-66_Standard [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ticonderoga-class_cruiser [wikipedia.org]

Re:It damaged a warship? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 9 months ago | (#45454349)

Depends where it hits. Sure, the arms and fuel storage would be armored and the hull tough as hell, but what about all those sensitive electronics up above deck?

Re:It damaged a warship? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#45454571)

I'm guessing that somebody at Raytheon is going to be having a particularly merry Christmas...

Re:It damaged a warship? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45454437)

Armored cruiser? What is this, 1910? Modern ships have little to no passive armor anymore, it wouldn't help against cruise missiles anyway. Active defense is supposed to shoot anything down before it comes into visual range.

Re:It damaged a warship? (4, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 9 months ago | (#45454551)

Define "armored". Then, refer to Jane's or any other listing of combat ships you might think of. You will note that we no longer have "armored" ships. No "pocket battleships", no "heavy cruisers", nothing of the sort. We're discussing a "guided missile cruiser" here, not a WWII heavy combat ship.

Naval doctrine dropped armor in exchange for speed and stealth well before I was born, in the latter 50's. The Marines have more armor on an Abrams tank than any ship of the line has.

Re:It damaged a warship? (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 9 months ago | (#45455075)

Exactly... by the time these boats get hit my a modern weapon, it's over. It's kind of like how Cannons made castle walls pointless.

Re:It damaged a warship? (1)

Notabadguy (961343) | about 9 months ago | (#45455995)

The Best Defense is a Good Offense.

That's been a solid doctrine of military warfare for the entirety of modern combat, and extends beyond the military into professional sports and business.

Re:It damaged a warship? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45457365)

how Cannons made castle walls pointless.

You meant required complete redesign? Bunker busting missiles exist because people built better castle walls. There are some massive concrete constructs build during the last years of WWII that survived hours of constant artillery fire meant to destroy them after the war already ended, at least one of them survived long enough that the allies eventually gave up. Of course there was a lot of thinking involved to spread the force of impact in a way that would leave the structurally important parts of the building unharmed, but that just means that the walls got better to meet the advanced weapons.

Not Canada! (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about 9 months ago | (#45455157)

We just ordered a whole bunch of "ice hardened" corvettes (I thought they were supposed to be frigates, but I don't really know the difference anyway).

I can see how this will influence Canadian naval Strategy...

1st Officer: "Sir radar detects an enemy vessel off our port bow!"
Captain: "Yar! Tis be time for battle me maties! Ahead full to ramming speed, we'll stave in this gobber good!"

Enemy radarman: "Um, there appears to be a ship coming towards us slowly..."
Enemy Captain: "Distance?!"
Enemy radarman: "17 Kilometers, estimated impact in about an hour or so?"
Enemy Captain: "Um... fire a missile?"

Re:It damaged a warship? (1)

Quila (201335) | about 9 months ago | (#45455687)

Or dropped armor because it was useless. Nowdays torpedo belts and bulges are useless because torpedoes normally explode under the ship, braking its back. Modern shaped charges in missiles can pierce all but armor so thick the ship would be unusable, and other missiles just dive onto the deck and blow up below decks.

Re:It damaged a warship? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 9 months ago | (#45455939)

Also - given the option of a nuclear warhead, no amount of armor would ever be enough.

http://www.seaforces.org/wpnsys/SURFACE/RUR-5-ASROC.htm [seaforces.org]

The article is somewhat misleading - but it's close enough for government work. It's safe to say that my ship, up against any of the famous battleships of World War 2 would have a 60/40 chance of success. It would boil down to who saw whom first. If they fire first, we're dead - if we get an Asroc in the water first, then they are dead.

Re:It damaged a warship? (1)

Quila (201335) | about 9 months ago | (#45458277)

It would boil down to who saw whom first.

With AWACS, OTH radar and satellite feeds, that would be you, every time.

Re:It damaged a warship? (4, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | about 9 months ago | (#45454595)

It wasn't a 3 ton drone. It was most likely a BQM-74 [wikipedia.org] , which weighs 600 lb empty. They've been flying them since 1965. It doesn't really have a lot to do with Predators, Reapers, etc.

Re:It damaged a warship? (4, Informative)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 9 months ago | (#45455439)

It's a 3 ton low speed aircraft crashing into an armored cruiser by definition designed to be shot at with things like shells and missiles and bombs and torpedoes. Surpising.

The BQM-74E has a gross weight of 549 pounds, not 3 tons, and it can fly around 600mph. I am certainly not a physicist, but even I can remember p=mv. If the mass is 249kg, and the velocity is 260 m/s, then the momentum is around 65,000 Netwons per second. In comparison, a bullet will typically carry less than 1 Newton per second of momentum. So yeah, if you get by 65 kilonewtons per second, there's going to be some damage.

A 3-ton object moving at the same speed would have over 700 kilonewtons per second of momentum.

Re:It damaged a warship? (1)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | about 9 months ago | (#45456223)

I never know. Is it the momentum or the kinetic energy that hurts?

Re:It damaged a warship? (2)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 9 months ago | (#45456693)

I'm pretty sure it all hurts. Using the same numbers, the kinetic energy would be 8.4 megajoules of energy. I don't know about you, but to me that sounds like a lot of joules. If my math is right, that's about equal to the energy released by 4 pounds of TNT. If that's too confusing, just think of it as the power needed to light a lightbulb requiring 8.4 million watts for 1 second. Or an 8-ton vehicle moving at around 100mph. Or, if you can imagine an apple weighing 840,000 kilograms, it's the energy released when you drop that apple a meter. I'm not sure what the conversion to a library of Congress is. I'm just a Wikipedia physicist here.

Re:It damaged a warship? (3, Interesting)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 9 months ago | (#45455447)

Not at all.

Note, that it didn't sink or get disabled.

Re:It damaged a warship? (1)

Duhavid (677874) | about 9 months ago | (#45455841)

Armor: limited Kevlar splinter protection in critical areas

It really isn't Armored at all.

Re:It damaged a warship? (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 9 months ago | (#45457787)

The Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser [fas.org] eschews armor in favor of an electronic aerial defense system designed to keep away/destroy threats before they come close enough to attack the ship. It's actually built on a destroyer hull [wikipedia.org] . You know, the things affectionately called tin cans in the Navy. Whatever armor they have is minimal. In geeky RPG terms, it's your evasive rogue, not your beefy tank.

There's been criticism of how effective these AEGIS ships are, especially after the Iranian airliner shootdown when apparently they couldn't distinguish a large civilian airliner from a small military jet. But in this case the drone was supposed to have been operating nearby so was allowed into airspace the ship would normally try to keep clear of hostiles during war.

Re:It damaged a warship? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45458125)

The Vincennes CIC crew correctly distinguished the Airbus, it just completely screwed the pooch when it came to interpreting and acting on the data.

Vaguely reminds me of a Phalanx test... (4, Insightful)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 9 months ago | (#45454271)

Vaguely reminds me of a Phalanx incident [wikipedia.org]

On October 11, 1989, the USS El Paso was conducting a live fire exercise off the east coast of the United States using the Phalanx against a target drone. The drone was successfully engaged, but as the drone fell to the sea, the CIWS re-engaged it as a continued threat to the El Paso. Rounds from the Phalanx struck the bridge of the USS Iwo Jima, killing one officer and injuring a petty officer.

Those navy vessels are dangerous places to work, even in practice.

Re:Vaguely reminds me of a Phalanx test... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45454537)

...Those navy vessels are dangerous places to work, even in practice...

Perhaps it's the trigger-happy sailors in them? Looking at the Wiki of the incident, I think I'd rather have a British ship with a Sea Dart system guarding me - at least they select the correct targets and hit them...

Re:Vaguely reminds me of a Phalanx test... (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 9 months ago | (#45454621)

Perhaps it's the trigger-happy sailors in them? Looking at the Wiki of the incident, I think I'd rather have a British ship with a Sea Dart system guarding me - at least they select the correct targets and hit them...

CIWS are autonomous.....

Re:Vaguely reminds me of a Phalanx test... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45455345)

...CIWS are autonomous.....

Not yet they aren't. Not completely. It takes a trigger-happy sailor to set them to auto-engage when sailing close to our own ships and those of allies. That, or the other typical American trait - a sailor who thinks modern machinery can't make a mistake...

Re:Vaguely reminds me of a Phalanx test... (4, Insightful)

Salgak1 (20136) | about 9 months ago | (#45454569)

Military operations of ALL sorts are dangerous. . . You train and train and have safety procedures to mitigate things, but every so often Murphy's Law causes an accident.

There is a reason that the day I graduated from flight school, they told us to look at every face in the class, one of us would be dead inside of a year.

Three weeks later, one of my classmates died in a C-130 crash. It's a risk that military people accept: you CAN'T do military ops AND have complete safety. . .

Re:Vaguely reminds me of a Phalanx test... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45458311)

Three weeks later, one of my classmates died

Relief washed over you with the realization that you were completely safe for the next year.

you CAN'T do military ops AND have complete safety

Of course! Otherwise there'd be no point.

Re:Vaguely reminds me of a Phalanx test... (4, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 9 months ago | (#45454611)

Yeah - and I can tell you about an older missile that was quite dangerous as well.

Often times, we would fire a Tartar missile at a target. The damned thing may or may not get a lock on target in the first minute of flight. If it failed to lock, it would start searching for a target. Far, far out at sea, far beyond sport fishermen's territory, when a missile starts searching for something to kill, what is the easiest target to spot? Oh yeah - that would be US - the platform from which it was launched.

We never fired a missile without the guns manned up, ready to fire. I never kept count, but I know that I witnessed at least a half dozen of those things coming back at us.

No, we never missed a gunnery target, no matter how fast, how high, how low - we ALWAYS killed when we fired a 5" 54 caliber gun.

Re:Vaguely reminds me of a Phalanx test... (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 9 months ago | (#45455907)

Often times, we would fire a Tartar missile at a target. The damned thing may or may not get a lock on target in the first minute of flight. If it failed to lock, it would start searching for a target. Far, far out at sea, far beyond sport fishermen's territory, when a missile starts searching for something to kill, what is the easiest target to spot? Oh yeah - that would be US - the platform from which it was launched.

We never fired a missile without the guns manned up, ready to fire. I never kept count, but I know that I witnessed at least a half dozen of those things coming back at us.

So, serious question: no IFF electronics in those missiles? how about modern navy missiles?

Re:Vaguely reminds me of a Phalanx test... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 9 months ago | (#45456165)

Tartars were very dumb missiles. Smart for their day, but still very dumb. I can't say what the newer missiles can do today - I haven't worn a uniform since 1983. It's probably safe to ASSume that today's missiles are a lot more sophisticated, but then, we have this story. One of the United State's most sophisticated drones has crashed into a US Navy ship. Some dude named Murphy probably had his fingers in it.

http://murphyslaws.net/ [murphyslaws.net]

Re: Vaguely reminds me of a Phalanx test... (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 9 months ago | (#45455519)

The military is a hazardous career, even in peacetime.

One of the most advanced air defense systems? (2, Interesting)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 9 months ago | (#45454339)

Chancellorsville has one of the most advanced air defense systems in the Navy[...]

But it could not defend itself against a runaway drone. Very impressive.

Re:One of the most advanced air defense systems? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 9 months ago | (#45454397)

Chancellorsville has one of the most advanced air defense systems in the Navy[...]

But it could not defend itself against a runaway drone. Very impressive.

There are multiple reasons that could have happened. It could have been too close to defend against - e.g. coming in to land, or the IFF [wikipedia.org] could have been tagged as friendly.

Re:One of the most advanced air defense systems? (5, Insightful)

bobbied (2522392) | about 9 months ago | (#45454535)

Chancellorsville has one of the most advanced air defense systems in the Navy[...]

But it could not defend itself against a runaway drone. Very impressive.

Seriously, that drone was *supposed* to be in the area. You don't sail around in peace time with the system on hair trigger and shoot at everything you can or cannot identify just because it it gets close. You need to be REALLY sure before you shoot down something or really bad things can result.

Re:One of the most advanced air defense systems? (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 9 months ago | (#45455411)

Really bad things like a slap on the wrist for shooting down a passenger jet while in someone else's territorial waters...

Re:One of the most advanced air defense systems? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 9 months ago | (#45455755)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Air_Flight_655 [wikipedia.org]

I'm not going to defend the obvious mistakes made in the Iran Air 655 case or the political aftermath this incident created. I'm only going to point out that if one learns from mistakes, you change your procedures. Which is why I surmise that they don't go around off of the coast of CA firing weapons unless they are *really* sure.

Re:One of the most advanced air defense systems? (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | about 9 months ago | (#45455695)

Bingo. ANY exercise has VERY detailed Rules of Engagement. The first being, that actual weapon firing is disabled. You can track and target all you want, but if the Weapons Interlock for the system is not engaged. . . .nothing will even load, much less fire. And it takes at LEAST two people in separate locations to do things nearly simultaneously. They could be as little as a few feet apart, but the idea is no ONE person can unlock. . .

Re:One of the most advanced air defense systems? (3, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 9 months ago | (#45456137)

Everyone on board the drone could have been killed.

Re:One of the most advanced air defense systems? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 9 months ago | (#45456653)

In this case, there where apparently NO survivors...

Re:One of the most advanced air defense systems? (2)

couchslug (175151) | about 9 months ago | (#45454567)

Defensive measures are themselves very dangerous and only to be used in combat or tightly controlled exercise conditions. Shooting up a nearby ship with CIWS would do much more damage than crashing a smallish UAV into it.

Re:One of the most advanced air defense systems? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 9 months ago | (#45454935)

Defense is very tricky - perhaps you've heard of Pearl Harbor or 9/11?

They should really change the name back to the War Department.

Re:One of the most advanced air defense systems? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 9 months ago | (#45455775)

There is a type of exercise called a tracking exercise that is designed to test how well the radar tracks the target and how well the crew responds. All the weapons are locked down so they do not accidentally destroy the drone. Several of these tracking exercises can be run with the same drone. Notice that some drones [wikipedia.org] are recoverable and not meant to always be shot down.

written by : Michael Fuckin' Crichton (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 9 months ago | (#45456487)

Dr. Charles Luther strikes again!

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45454439)

Is there a possibility that the drone could have been compromised and purposely flown into the Chancellorsville?
I always thought that remote "anything" could be susceptible to, for lack of a better word, hijacking.

     

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45454451)

Is there a possibility that the drone could have been compromised and purposely flown into the Chancellorsville? I always thought that remote "anything" could be susceptible to, for lack of a better word, hijacking.

Maybe someone just gave the controls to McCain.

Revenge (1)

DulcetTone (601692) | about 9 months ago | (#45454523)

re: In late August, Chancellorsville successfully used an SM-6 missile to hit a target drone

Clearly, there is a history to be examined.

There are drones, and then there are drones. (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about 9 months ago | (#45454533)

Drones make the news these days, for obvious reasons. However, it is important to note that this was not a drone such as the ones we tend to think of these days, taking out terror suspects, etc. This was an old-fashioned target drone, the type the Navy has been using for forty years. Basically a step up from an RC aircraft, with not a lot of smarts, and designed to be shot up. If this accident had happened thirty years ago no one outside of the Navy would have taken note of it.

Just imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45454585)

...a Beowolf cluster of drones!

Re:Just imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45454629)

Obama's imagining the shit out of it over in the Middle East. Bang! Zoom! Pow!

armor on the struck ship was disappointing (2)

bjdevil66 (583941) | about 9 months ago | (#45454671)

I know these new Navy ships have had critics about various things, including the weakness of their armor. I thought that maybe they were overstating that, but I saw video today of the hole punched in the side of the ship and was surprised. That was just a drone crashing into the side (vs. some form of live ordinance - missile, artillery, etc. - designed to penetrate and destroy) and it punched a hole like it was a bullet going through a car door.

Maybe the Navy does need to take a second look at the armor on these boats?

Re:armor on the struck ship was disappointing (3, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | about 9 months ago | (#45455109)

With a modern large surface combatant like a cruiser, the idea is to prevent the missile from hitting it in the first place.
The CIWS should have been able to blow that drone apart with 20mm depleted uranium ammo.
But maybe it wasn't switched on.

Maybe the Navy does need to take a second look at the armor on these boats?"

A shaped charge waepon cuts through steel armor like a hot knife through butter. (like a larger version of an anti-tank missle.
This was a ship, not a boat btw, the navy does have some fairly tough boats, but they work best underwater.

Re:armor on the struck ship was disappointing (3, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 9 months ago | (#45455561)

Or maybe they've spent more time and money that you working out what will work best.

I strongly suspect (though I'm not interested enough to actually research it) that modern (and not so modern, battleships were going out of style long ago) anti-ship weaponry is deadly enough that the amount of armor required to defend against it would not be practical. Thus you instead make ships that are harder to it, and if one gets through the active defenses you are done anyway - so there's not much point in heavy armor.

You take the extra anti-missile defense system (of whatever flavor) that might stop you from getting hit over the extra armor that will be smashed through as it it wasn't there if you take the hit anyway.

Re:armor on the struck ship was disappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45456231)

Even with armor, we simply use an oversaturation method to defeat what armor and / or defenses it has to ensure a kill.

I forget the name, but a book exists ( yes it's classified ) that outlines all of the current warships that sail the Earth. Their known defenses, and how many / what type of offensive firepower it will take to guarantee a kill. I'm sure the other Navies of the world have similar setups.

Bottom line is, we don't shoot one anti-ship missile at something and hope for the best. We shoot a dozen with varying incoming flight paths with similar time on target arrival and guarantee the target goes away.

Re:armor on the struck ship was disappointing (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 9 months ago | (#45458317)

I forget the name, but a book exists ( yes it's classified ) that outlines all of the current warships that sail the Earth. Their known defenses, and how many / what type of offensive firepower it will take to guarantee a kill.

The book you're probably thinking of is Jane's Fighting Ships, which isn't classified at all--you can buy it on Amazon. Which is something that's been giving counterintelligence people fits for well over a century. The Jane's group is one of the world's largest and most effective spy agencies, and they sell everything they know.

Re:armor on the struck ship was disappointing (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 9 months ago | (#45458451)

Sure, but you don't always have an infinite amount of resources available. Thus you want to maximize what you can defend against. All I'm saying is that I suspect that your weight/dollar/space budget is going to be better spent on active defenses (or stealth if feasible) than on heavier armor.

Though you certainly want some - if only for instances like this and speedboat bombs in port...

Re:armor on the struck ship was disappointing (1)

Groghunter (932096) | about 9 months ago | (#45456827)

While that may be true, the groups that make these decisions are the same folks who decided F-4s didn't need guns, because the day of the dogfight was over. If F-4s had been used under the conditions that these people envisioned, they would have been right. However, the rules of engagement during Vietnam precluded use of the F-4 as designed, so you had pilots get into some deep doo-doo because they didn't have a means to retaliate against enemy fighers after launching all of their missiles. I can easily think of at least one reason to have at least limited armor (which i have no idea if this vessel has or not:) to prevent an attack similar to what happened to USS Cole. You certainly aren't going to protect yourself from a speedboat bomb, while in dock, with a phalanx.

Re:armor on the struck ship was disappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45458195)

No, you use intricate systems of internal compartments with watertight doors and constant training in counterflooding. That's what saved the Cole, for example, and it's cheaper and lighter than armor that won't stop modern weapons anyway.

Re:armor on the struck ship was disappointing (1)

codepunk (167897) | about 9 months ago | (#45456577)

Well being that it is a expensive drone I doubt they had weapons free on it. Had they been able to engage with with VLS surface to air missiles and CIWS it would have been shredded to bits.

Well now we know how to defeat the U.S. navy (0)

PortHaven (242123) | about 9 months ago | (#45454941)

Hack our drones and crash them into our own ships. Apparently, a navy cruiser with one of the most advanced air defense systems was no defense for a malfunctioning drone. This is how we lose the war folks.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/17/us/drone-malfunction-duplicate-2/ [cnn.com] :-(

Re:Well now we know how to defeat the U.S. navy (0)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 9 months ago | (#45455757)

It's going to take on hell of a long time to 'lose a war' when damage consists of two minor injuries and some sheet metal work.

"What 'de do? Nibble your bum?"

Run Away! Run Away!

Re:Well now we know how to defeat the U.S. navy (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 9 months ago | (#45455989)

Apparently, a navy cruiser with one of the most advanced air defense systems was no defense for a malfunctioning drone.

As has been pointed out, and as 5 minutes of consideration would reveal, theres a pretty good chance all of the defenses were not on and were not in "kill mode" during a training exercise. Theres also a pretty good chance they were not in "lets kill our training drone" mode.

I saw the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45454959)

about the accident on a news site, but the news site didn't mention that sailors were injured. Thanks for posting the update.

how does this compared to manned accidents? (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 9 months ago | (#45454995)

I couldnt find the statistics on google. However unless otherwise noted, I doubt if the rate betweent he two aircraft types are that different.

Do you know how much damage... (1)

Stele (9443) | about 9 months ago | (#45455615)

Mr. Prosser: Do you know how much damage this battleship would sustain if I just let the drone fly right into it?
Arthur: How much?
Mr. Prosser: Some!

Ligtning (1)

randomErr (172078) | about 9 months ago | (#45455709)

I blame it on a lightning strike [wikipedia.org] .

Note: No baking popcorn using ship's radar (1)

CityZen (464761) | about 9 months ago | (#45455735)

Please use only the oven specifically designated for this purpose. Thank you.

Educational Post (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45456749)

Hi folks, anonymous Fire Control education available here.

A little research will show that the Chancellorsville received an Aegis Modernization upgrade last year, and earlier this year also had their combat system software patched again.

The ship was likely involved in a Detect-to-Engage scenario with the BQM-74 drone acting in an anti-ship missile profile, or enhanced to provide a radar return like a strike aircraft (Source: wikipedia)

In this sort of scenario, whether off the California or Hawaiian coasts, the ship's weapons systems are SAFED. The firing inhibt keys are in place. The ship cannot actually fire. There are scenarios where the drone would be fired upon, but generally with dummy munitions, and the telemetry would be recovered from the drone to indicate if the ship would have had a successful hit.

Given that I've done these particular exercises before in my (previous) career, it sounds like the first scenario. They were testing the newest software to ensure that the combat system internally processed the drone's attack profile correctly and the ship was able to successfully send engagement and targeting data to the weapons systems, without actually releasing any munitions.

Having served on an identical guided missile cruiser to the Chancellorsville, I can also discuss conjecture about ship's armor. We're not really armored like people think of anymore. The superstructure on modern ships contains a lot of aluminium, to save weight. (this also causes significant corrosion problems in older ships) Especially in the case of the top-heavy deckhouses of an Aegis Cruiser. The critical spaces in the superstructure DO have armor, but this is more to ensure that blast fragments don't penetrate. A direct hit on a critical equipment room would still cause significant damage.
http://www.10news.com/news/military/malfunctioning-drone-hits-san-diego-based-navy-ship-uss-chancellorsville-while-training-2-injured

This link contains video showing the puncture from the drone striking the ship. It punctured like this because you're looking at a thin bulkhead; there's a covered exterior passageway right there through the deckhouse on both port and starboard side. Interior to that are a couple of gear lockers; again, inconsequential and unarmored. Deeper in than that you would find some armored spaces.

Likely the fuel from the drone ignited, causing a small fire and damaging these gear lockers and assorted deck equipment kept within. My ship kept the small skiff used for painting the hull inport stored there, along with rope and other lines.

I'm interested in how/why Point Mugu lost control of the drone.

Re:Educational Post (1)

codepunk (167897) | about 9 months ago | (#45456865)

Exactly if the ship would have been weapons free and engaging with missiles and CIWS that drone would have been turned into a shredded fireball.

Imagine the clamor ... (2)

NikeHerc (694644) | about 9 months ago | (#45458169)

when one of these things slams into a residential area.

What *kind* of Tomahawks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45459155)

"What *kind* of Tomahawks?"

"12 of them were specials... nuclear tipped."

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