(Popular Mechanics) - A civilian photographer landed his $350 drone on the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the United Kingdom's brand-new aircraft carrier, without anyone noticing.
Even more alarming, when the incident was reported, the government authorities didn't seem particularly concerned by the breach of security. The incident comes after drones have been used to monitor military bases, conduct acts of sabotage, and even kill.
The drone operator, who only goes by the working name Black Isle Images, flew the DJI Phantom drone (The Register says it was a Parrot Bebop) over Queen Elizabeth as she was docked at Invergordon, Scotland.
The photographer claims had had no intention of actually landing on the carrier, but a sudden gust of wind triggered the drone's high wind sensors, which immediately set the tiny unmanned aircraft down on the carrier's flight deck as a precaution. The photographer snapped a picture from the flight deck and flew the drone away. Here's video the drone shot before it was forced to land:
The photo taken on the flight deck is available on the BBC site here.
After picking up the drone, the photographer decided to confess and went to speak with police guarding the ship. "I was only able to speak to some armed police, I think from the MoD," Maritime Executive quoted him as saying. "They said there was no one available on the carrier, as they were at dinner on shore. No one seemed too concerned. The officer I spoke to said he'd pass it up the chain of command."
The drone operator left his contact information for the authorities, but says that nobody ever got back to him. According to the BBC, a UK Ministry of Defense spokesperson said, "'We take the security of HMS Queen Elizabeth very seriously. This incident has been reported to Police Scotland, an investigation is under way and we stepped up our security measures in light of it."
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|A computer generated image of what HMS Queen Elizabeth would look like sailing out of Portsmouth habour (BAE Systems)|