U.S. Navy Global Hawk drone by Northrop Grumman crashes near Patuxent River Naval Air Station

Global Hawk

PATUXENT RIVER, Md., 12 June 2012. An RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), made by Northrop Grumman Corp. and operated by the U.S. Navy, crashed across the Chesapeake Bay from the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., during a routine training flight. No injuries or property damage, other than the loss of the more than $100 million unmanned drone, have been reported.

The crashed Northrop Grumman RQ-4A, one of the Navy's Broad Area Maritime Surveillance-Demonstrators (BAMS-D), is one of five unmanned aircraft that the Navy acquired from the Air Force Global Hawk program for maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR).

The UAV enjoys with a range of 10,500 nautical miles, operates for more than 30 hours, and achieves speeds up to 391 mph. A crew of four military personnel operates the drone from the ground.

The Maryland station at the mouth of the Patuxent River contains the Navy's test pilot school, drone operations, and principal research center for aircraft and support systems.

The cause of the UAV crash is under investigation.

A U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat is enforcing a safety zone around the crash site.

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