The error of the drone operator led to the death of their own soldiers

The error of the drone operator led to the death of their own soldiers


The US military announced information regarding the investigation, when the US Air Force unmanned aircraft destroyed its own soldiers. This incident happened on April 6 and caused a strong response among the military. The circumstances of the death of American soldiers and their causes lasted for several months, and the published report of the investigation takes page 381.


For the first time, an unmanned aircraft opened fire on soldiers in the Afghan Helmand province on 8: 51 in the morning. A platoon of Sergeant Jeremy Smith was shot at by the enemy. His unit was forced to split into two groups in order to try to make way at the crossroads in the city of Sangin. There is a shootout with Afghan militants almost every day.

Sergeant Smith and Medic Benjamin Rast separated from one of the groups of their soldiers and hid behind a hedge. After that, the American marines opened heavy fire on the building in which the Taliban sat down. It was at that moment that the Marines were “spotted” by the Predator infrared UAV camera. Due to the low level of illumination, observation in the visible range was impossible, so the drone operator could only observe the outlines of people and their weapon.

Sergeant Smith assumed that the drone would open fire on the building with the militants, which was located at a distance of 200 from it. at the goal. But the operator of the UAV saw flashes from three machine guns, as well as the fact that the fire was fired in a different direction from where the Americans were shooting. The Predator operator thought that three Afghan militants were firing at the Marines. As a result, the missile was fired not by the militants entrenched in the building, but by the Smith group. The drone operator quietly counted down the time to the missile strike, when the Americans at 17-th second realized that the missile was not aimed at the building with the militants. However, their radio message was late: an exploding rocket killed two American soldiers on the spot.

The high-precision weapons of the Predator UAV and the highly professional virtual crew do not give an absolute guarantee of complete security for their own soldiers and civilians.

As follows from the chat records, through which military analysts communicate with UAV crews, demonstrated that the Predator operator received information such as: “the belonging of the soldiers is not definable” and “the direction of the air strike has nothing to do with the land request troops. " These messages were received by the coordinator, who is responsible for transmitting such information to the UAV pilot, but the coordinator was an intern and, most likely, this was the cause of the tragedy. The investigation came to a disappointing conclusion: two American soldiers died due to insufficient situational awareness and the ability to distinguish between enemies and their own.

This incident was another, this time tragically ended for American soldiers, and not peaceful Afghan residents, which once again reminded of the urgent need for the development of unmanned percussion weapons in the complex. Ultra-precise weapons and remoteness from the site of military operations bring a significant advantage only when there is an opportunity to distinguish enemies from their soldiers and civilians. The multistage system of analysis and coordination of the tactical situation, which is used during close fire contact, has demonstrated its imperfection and as a result, drones become a tool that sows death everywhere and everywhere. And worst of all, the UAVs rarely do not hit the target, and people who have fallen under its fire, because of operator errors, have almost no chance to survive.
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