9 p.m., Feb. 22
General Atomics Predator Drones Collide on El Mirage Runway, Investigation Continuing
The Victorville Daily Press is reporting that U.S. Army officials are investigating the collision of two General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Predator drones on the runway at the government's El Mirage Flight Test Facility on July 25.
"There was some damage to both aircraft in this procedural incident,” the paper quoted Army spokesman Randy Tisor as saying in an e-mail. “Army officials are investigating to ensure that all appropriate actions are taken to prevent future incidents.”
One drone was an MQ-1C reconnaissance model and the other an MQ-1C Gray Eagle, which can be armed. Each costs taxpayers between $6 million and $8 million, the paper said.
"On the same day the collision occurred, General Atomics announced the Gray Eagle system’s successful completion of 10,000 automated take-offs and landings as of June 2," according to the newspaper account.
The planes were developed at General Atomics headquarters in Torrey Pines.
As recently reported here, the closely-held company, run by La Jollans Neal and Linden Blue, has been lobbying the U.S. government for reduced restrictions on potentially lucrative foreign sales of the deadly aerial vehicles.
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- Predator Maker Linden Blue Blasts Barack Obama — Nov. 9, 2011