Northrop Grumman's BAMS-D demonstrator is seen in this file photo. (Northrop Grumman)
A huge unmanned aircraft operated by the U.S. Navy crashed June 11 along Maryland’s eastern shore, the Navy confirmed, but no injuries or personnel damage has been reported.
The crash, at about 12:11 Eastern Time, reportedly took place in a marshy area of the Nanticoke River, near Bloodsworth Island in Dorchester, Md., about 20 miles from the city of Salisbury.
The Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstrator (BAMS-D) aircraft, a modified Air Force Global Hawk RQ-4, is operated from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., as part of the overall BAMS development program. The jet-powered plane, one of the largest unmanned vehicles operated by the U.S. military, has a wingspan of more than 130 feet, although it is only about 47 feet long. The Navy operates at least five BAMS demonstrators, some of which have been deployed to Afghanistan and the Middle East.
The first built-for-the-purpose MQ-4C BAMS is to be unveiled June 14 by Northrop Grumman at its facility in Palmdale, Calif. The Navy plans on acquiring more than 100 of the aircraft, which are key to the service’s ability to keep watch on vast areas of ocean and land.