RAF Merlin nearly downed by British Army drone

Merlin helicopter

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Merlin helicopter
Merlin helicopter

That was close – an incident involving a British Army drone and an RAF helicopter during military exercise

The British Army almost brought down a troop-carrying RAF helicopter when one of its own drones flew within 60ft of the giant aircraft, a report found.

The £15million Merlin helicopter and a Desert Hawk surveillance drone should have been flying in their own restricted areas.

But they came close to crashing during a massive military training exercise, as crews blamed map-reading errors and a dispute over airspace for the near catastrophe.

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Britain’s Joint Helicopter command has been told to review its procedures after serious errors put lives at risk.

Desert Hawk UAS
Desert Hawk UAS

However there was no way of telling whose fault the incident was, experts from the UK Airprox Board, which investigates near misses in British airspace, concluded.

According to the Telegraph, they came close to crashing during a massive military training exercise.

The Airprox Board report concluded: “The UAV Operator was instructed not to abort the landing and to ‘let it come in hard into trees’ to avoid possible collision with the Merlin if the landing was aborted”.

However, investigators could not decide who was to blame as there was not enough information to show who was reading the maps correctly.