Control over heavily armed U..S war robots fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan was lost last year after a cat climbed into machinery at an American command base and “fried everything,” a U.S. officer has confirmed. The news comes from Colonel Grant Webb, describing technical problems at Creech Air Force Base outside Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the location from which U.S. Air Force Predator and Reaper UAVs are controlled during missions overseas (see below).
“A cat climbed into one of the electronic nodes and fried everything,” the colonel says on a video available on the DEW Line blog.
Lewis Page writes that when the satellite link to a Predator or Reaper is lost, the UAV does not plunge to Earth or fly erratically. In general the plane simply circles where it is, awaiting further commands.
After power has been restored, operators at Creech can generally relocate the errant UAV and gain control over it again. There has, however, been at least one case in which a UAV has refused to acknowledge any further orders: on that occasion the unresponsive drone was shot down by a manned fighter plane before it could violate the borders of a nearby neutral country.
Page notes that although losses of drone control are seldom serious, then, with a Reaper able to carry up to fourteen Hellfire missiles (each capable of destroying a tank) such occurrences are scarcely reassuring.
Source: Homeland Security Newswire
Control over heavily armed U..S war robots fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan was lost…
by Tactical-Life.com / Apr 20, 2010