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.

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