A Navy drone crashed this week. Not over the high seas. Not over some foreign nation. Over Maryland. It crashed in a marsh.
The RQ-4A Global Hawk drone was on what the Navy says was a routine training flight. It was part of the Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons Program.
No one was hurt.
We are told that this was a routine training flight. The drone cost $176 million. It was one of five drones bought by the Navy from the Air Force’s Global Hawk program. The program “has been developing tactics and doctrine for the employment of high-altitude unmanned patrol aircraft since November 2006.”
Of the five Navy drones “based at southern Maryland’s Naval Air Station Patuxent River, four are in routine training and one is deployed with the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet.”
This is six years into the program. The drones are still being tested over land. I presume that they are intended to be deployed over land. The question I have is this: Why is the Navy in need of reconnaissance tools for land-based operations? The drones are not being used in defensive operations to protect our fleet.
I have an answer: The drones serve as tools suitable for America’s assertion of foreign power. When a nation decides to become the world’s policeman, it has a lot of territory to police.
It is clear that drones are becoming the tool of choice in the military. When the military starts selling its used drones, the drones will go into use domestically.