Military drone crash data undermines MoD case to fly Protector drones in UK

Drone Wars is today publishing a new report reviewing large military drone crashes over the past decade.  Accidents Will Happen details over 250 crashes of large Predator-sized (NATO Class II and III) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) across the globe operated by a number of different countries, primarily the United States. The data is being released as UK airspace regulators are coming under pressure from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and industry lobbyists to open British airspace to such drones.

Although there has been public and parliamentary discussion about the impact on public safety and security of the increasing use of small drones (particularly since the incursions at Gatwick airport in late 2018), there has so far been little media or political discussion about the implications of opening up UK airspace to large military drones. However airspace regulators have serious concerns about the danger of operating unmanned systems alongside piloted aircraft.  Read more

Accidents Will Happen: A dataset of military drone crashes

Forensic experts investigate crash of US Predator near Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Feb, 2016. (Depo photos)

Drone Wars is today publishing a dataset of just over 250 large military drone crashes that have taken place over the past decade (2009-2018). The full dataset is available online here.  This post is a brief summary of the data but there is a great deal more detail in our accompanying report which is available here.

Although there continues to be some disagreement about the classification of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), most adhere to the NATO system which divides them into three broad categories based on weight. Read more

Large military drones continue to crash as they spread

A US Predator drone crashed in Turkey, Feb. 2016
US Predator crashed in Turkey, Feb. 2016

In the latest of our six-monthly updates, Drone Wars has added another 35 crashes of large military drones to the Drone Crash database. 21 of the crashes have occurred since the last update in September 2015, with a further 14 previously unknown US military drone crashes in 2014 and 2015 revealed by the Freedom of Information work in the US by the Washington Post. Drone Wars UK has been tracking crashes of large military drones (Class 2 and 3) since 2010 as a means of researching the proliferation and use of large military drones. Read more

Military drone crashes show spread of drone wars

US drone crashed in Iraq, July 2015
US drone crash in Samawa province, Iraq, July 2015

Drone Wars UK has updated the Drone Crash Database with details of a further 19 large drone crashes since our last update in February 2015.  Sixteen of the crashes occurred in 2015 while three previously unknown US drone crashes from 2014 have been revealed through the publication of accident investigation reports.

For the past five years Drone Wars UK has been recording crashes of large military drones (Class 2 & Class 3) as a way of tracking the spread and expansion of the use of drones. Due to the secrecy surrounding their use the database is almost certainly not complete. Read more

What 200 military drone crashes tells us about the drone wars

Over the past five years Drone Wars UK has been recording crashes of large military drones (Class 2 & Class 3) as a way of tracking the spread and expansion of the use of military drones. Due to the secrecy surrounding their use, details of crashes sometimes take months or years to be made public (if at all) and our list is therefore almost certainly not complete. Nevertheless our database now shows 200 such crashes between Jan 2007 and Dec 2014. Read more

Civil drones join military drones falling from the skies

Reaper-crashAs regular readers will know, Drone Wars UK tracks crashes of the larger type II and III military UAVs in our Drone Crash Database (details of UAV classifications here).  We have just updated our list with a further six crashes during 2013, including military drone crashes in the US, Israel, Mali and Afghanistan. Although the crash of a US military target drone in Florida received much media attention again this is of a type we do not record in our database. Read more