One bad part dooms $72.8M Global Hawk

The Air Force lost an EQ-4B Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle because a single part came undone, Defense Tech reports.

The part, a Line Replaceable Unit, came undone Aug. 11, 2011, rendering the aircraft uncontrollable in a mission over Eastern Afghanistan by interrupting the flow of electricity to its aileron and spoiler actuators — the tiny motors that control the movements of an aircraft’s flight control surfaces, the story added.

Apparently, the screws holding the part in place weren’t tight enough and probably shook loose due to typical flight vibrations, the article said, quoting an Air Force finding.

Reader Comments

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 k1 calif.

what's the saying about failing for wanting one horseshoe nail? aren't there special "airplane nuts" for this job? nylon threaded to not back out? who "lost" their part assembly to china? ... for all-ah's sake, next time spend some of that mullah-targeting moo-lah on moooore testing... okay, time for mission accomplished signage, bush o'bummer promotion and bigger contract. nothing to see here move along...was this flying gizmo mission critical, were american GI lives depending on it? certainly "enemy" (frienemy?) lives were depending on it not working...

Wed, Mar 14, 2012

This is funny! Whoever wrote this needs to learn that an LRU is more than a "part". An LRU is a "box" (part of a modular system) that can be replaced by technicians on the line and not require the replacement of the complete system. What a LRU "box" contains can be very complex and in this case looks like it was a module of the flight control system. A "part" called an LRU didn't just fail and bring down the GH, it had a fatal system malfunction of one of its flight control modules, lost control and crashed.

Mon, Mar 12, 2012 CJ

For want of a nail the battle was lost - well in this case actually about 2 cents worth of locktite and a few million $ in training for the maintainers.

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