Residents of Oak Island and Carolina Beach out walking early found unusual drift wood on the beach this week.
Thursday, officials at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point say the drones were used Sept. 17 during a live fire exercise at Onslow Beach.
The aircraft in question is a UAT or Unmanned Aerial Target; specifically it is called the ‘Griffon MQM-170, Outlaw‘ which is primarily used for surface-to-air missile defense training,” said Mike Barton, Deputy Director of Public Affairs at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing. “2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, just completed a live fire exercise on Sept. 17 at Onslow Beach at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. What was found is the remains of two of the targets, out of 40 that were used during the exercise.”
If they wash up near you, you can keep them.
“As we can’t re-use those aircraft, the finders are welcome to keep them, or we can arrange to pick them up,” Barton said.
The Outlaw UAV is powered by a two-stroke piston engine driving a pusher propeller. It is normally launched from a pneumatic catapult and recovered by a skid landing. However, it can optionally be fitted with a tricycle landing gear for conventional landings (the launcher can also accommodate landing gear eqipped Outlaws). The MQM-170A can be controlled manually, either via line-of-sight or by a BVR (Beyond Visual Range) control console, which can be used to control multiple aircraft in flight. Alternatively a preset flight path can be programmed using GPS waypoints. The UAV has a configurable automatic flight termination system, allowing the operator to define causes (e.g. loss of GPS, loss of radio link) and modes of ending the mission (glide to landing, stalled landing, deployment of a parachute system).
A similar incident occurred last March off Tampa Florida when a fisherman caught a drone.
The BQM-167 belongs to the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, a tenant unit at Tyndall, and was lost March 10 due to an engine flameout during a routine training exercise, the Air Force said in a news release.