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The Taliban’s First Drone? Not Quite

by John Reed on May 21, 2012

So, some pictures of a micro-UAV that was found during a raid on insurgent supply cache in Helmand Province, Afghanistan recently emerged on the Internet prompting some to wonder if this example of one of the Taliban or al Qaeda’s first ever homemade drones. I can almost guarantee it’s not. What I can (almost) guarantee is that the little drone shown above is a Lockheed Martin-made Desert Hawk drone that went down — likely due to an accident — while being operated by NATO forces. Remember, UAVs crash pretty frequently and small, cheap ones like the Desert Hawk can go down for a number of reasons ranging from bad weather to straying too far from the unit that launched it and losing its connection with the laptop that’s controlling it.

The local insurgent crew likely scooped up the little plane as a cool trophy — just looking at the pics above you can see that it doesn’t appear to be in flight-worthy shape. Even if the inusrgents could repair the obvious physical damage to the drone, they most likely don’t have access to the computer software and communications gear needed to make it work.

Click through the jump for more pics of the captured and then recaptured drone along with some pics of Lockheed’s Desert Hawk that I took at last year’s Modern Day Marine expo.

Compare the drone above to these pics of Lockheed’s Desert Hawk.

H/t the Aviationist.

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