Report: Drones top list of accident-prone aircraft in the Air Force

The Air Force loses nine Global Hawk high-altitude drones or Predator and Reaper drones for every 100,000 hours of flying, according to reports by Bloomberg News. 


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That accident rate for Air Force drones is nearly triple the normal flight-hour to crash ratio experiences across the service's fleet, according to reports. 

Over a 15 month period, the Air Force had 129 accidents with the Northrop Grumman-built Global Hawk, as well as its Predator and Reaper drones, both built by General Atomics, according to analysis by Bloomberg. 

That accident to flight-hour rate is nearly triple the normal flight-hour to crash ratio experiences across the Air Force's fleet, according to reports. 

Only the Air Force's fleet of helicopters, including the service's CV-22 Osprey, came close to the accident rates experienced by service aerial drones at just over 6 accidents per 100,000 flight hours. 

The Air Force Osprey went down during a training mission last Wednesday near the command's headquarters in Hurlburt Field, Fla.

Air Force Special Operations Command will not ground its fleet of V-22 Ospreys despite the ongoing investigation into the crash, 1st Special Operations Wing Commander Col. Jim Slife told reporters last Thursday. 

News of the high-accident rate on Air Force drones comes as the fight to keep the Global Hawk in the service's fleet continues on Capitol Hill. 

DOD officials opted to retire the venerable surveillance drone in it's fiscal 2013 defense budget proposal. 

However, members of the House Armed Services Committee reversed that decision, funding continued buys of the Global Hawk in the department's budget plan.

But their Senate counterparts sided with the Pentagon on the Global Hawk issue, killing the program in its version of the defense spending legislation.

House-Senate negotiators will look to hammer out some kind of compromise on the program when both sides meet later this year to draft the final version of the FY '13 budget bill.