Somewhere off the coast of San Diego last night a U.S. Customs and Border Protection drone was deliberately downed.
The decision to crash the multimillion dollar unmanned aircraft was made after a mechanical malfunction was discovered in the operating system. The Texas-based remote ground crew made the call.
The Coast Guard moved into the area southwest of Point Loma around 1:15 a.m. this morning, January 28, to assist with debris recovery. It was unlikely that any of the highly sophisticated electronics onboard the drone were salvageable.
Mike Friel, spokesperson for the federal agency released a written statement:
"The crew determined that the UAS would be unable to return to where it originated in Sierra Vista, Ariz., and put the aircraft down in the water.”
The unmanned aerial surveillance drone was one of two specifically designed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems of San Diego, to be used over the ocean at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet. They can be airborne for a maximum of 20 hours.
Apparently, there was no threat to the general public with the drone’s malfunction or its crash landing however, the entire fleet of U.S. Customs and Border Protection drones has been grounded until the investigation is complete.
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