This must have been incredibly terrifying! Imagine rumbling along in your massive C-130 gunship over Afghanistan, when KABOOM, a UAV slams into your wing and tears a big chunk out if it. Now imagine having to land like that.
sUAS News relays the following dispatch from the scene:
On closer inspection I could see a part of the one blade had been broken off the No 2 Engine which seemed to not have feathered fully, the massive hole in the left wing had broken the fuel tank, and was told that they believe the wing, main spar and wing box was also bent.
I'm still wondering if she will ever get airborne again but if not, she had done one hell of a last flight and the crew must have done an amazing job getting the wounded bird down on what is one of the more challenging runways I've ever seen. Not often that you get to hear of survivors of a mid-air collision.
No word on how the RQ-7 drone fared after the smash -- probably not well! -- but it must have been one hell of a battering ram. Each RQ-7 weighs up to 170kg with a full payload, and travels at speeds up to 217km/h. Now imagine that hitting you while you're tens of thousands of feet in the air -- probably worse than a lot of anti-aircraft fire. Major congratulations to the crew for bringing the air truck down safely, and for not peeing their pants in the process. The best and the brightest, for real. [sUAS News via DefenseTech]