Man lands tiny drone on $5b British warship
British naval chiefs were left red faced after an amateur enthusiast landed a $500 drone on the fleet’s prized $5 billion warship.
HMS Queen Elizabeth – the Royal Navy’s new 70,000 tonne hi-tech aircraft carrier – was moored at a dock in Scotland last month when the drone pilot flew his tiny aircraft past armed patrol boats and onto the flight deck, reports the Daily Telegraph.
The pilot, a member of a drone flying club who wanted some footage of the gleaming new warship, has not been named but told Scottish media last week that he was shocked how easy the landing had been.
“I was amazed that I was able to land on the aircraft carrier for two reasons, the first being that there was no one about to prevent it from landing, although were security police around in small boats who were waving at the drone,” he said.
“The second reason was more technical. I received a high wind warning as I was videoing up and down the flight deck and my control system advised me to land.”
Video from the drone showed the 280-metre long vessel totally deserted of its crew.
And when he tried to tell its crew about the startling security breach the pilot said he found a “ghost ship”.
“There was absolutely no one around when I landed,” he continued.
The pilot said he contacted security staff at the port in Invergordon and was told his concerns would be “passed up the chain of command”.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence told the BBC: ‘We take the security of HMS Queen Elizabeth very seriously”.
“This incident has been reported to Police Scotland, an investigation is under way and we stepped up our security measures in light of it.”
Former Royal Navy chief Lord West said the incident was worrying because terrorist groups are using drones to launch bombs.
He told The Daily Mail: “Daesh [Islamic State] are already using drones to deliver bombs in Syria, so I think it is something we need to take very seriously.”
The Royal Navy’s flagship vessel is due to be commissioned by the Queen later this year.