Human Error Partly to Blame for Drone Crash, according to Navy
The 567-foot Ticondergo-class cruiser Chancellorsville was commissioned in November 1989.
A malfunctioning target drone, combined with judgment errors aboard the Navy cruiser Chancellorsville and at a Ventura County control center, led to the Nov. 13 accident that injured two sailors and breached the warship’s hull.
A newly unclassified Navy report on the incident recommends administrative action against the ship’s then-skipper, Capt. Andrew Hesser, and three key crew members for allowing a BQM-74 target drone to crash into the side of their ship without putting up an effective defense.
The repairs cost the Navy an estimated $30 million and took the ship out of service for a time. The drone’s impact caused a fire in the breached space and in a portion of the electrical system. The report describes the sailors’ injuries as minor.
The San Diego-based Chancellorsville was off the coast of Southern California in the middle of qualification trials for an upgrade to its Aegis-radar weapons system when the accident happened.
The drone was mimicking an incoming missile or similar kind of threat to the ship.
Image courtesy of utsandiego.com