back to article ... Aaaand that's a fifth Brit Army Watchkeeper drone to crash in Wales

A British Army Watchkeeper drone has crashed near Aberporth, taking the number of crashes involving the unmanned aircraft to five. Local reports indicated that the unmanned surveillance aeroplane, which is controlled remotely from the ground, crashed in a lane near West Wales Airport at 5pm yesterday. The Cambrian News …

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Continually Flying over Wales

I wonder why the downvotes. I'm Welsh by birth, and I've flown over Wales enough times to know that it's just lumps.

Lumps and sheep.

Lumps and sheep and angry, red faced men in clapped out Escort L's with 'RS turbo' written on the back in felt tip pen.

I was once behind a Vauxhall Cavalier in Talbot Green (it's in Wales), whose owner had managed, with some deft marker pen wizardry, to change the 'L' into an 'i'.

This is Wales once you get out of the cities.

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If I had to continually fly over Wales, a one way, unscheduled hitting of the ground is a valid option

Cool. Let me know when you're going, I'll pay for enough fuel to get you airborne. You can manage the 'coming down' bit by yourself.

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Re: Continually Flying over Wales

Lumps and sheep.

Or, as we used to call them "land lice".

Cos that's what they look like from above.

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FAIL

Thales

Thales had the contract for the software for the most-recently-sortof-completed chunk of our LRT (Light Rail Transit) system (mostly-aboveground subway stuff). They are two years late in trying to integrate their stuff into the existing system, and the trains have been running too slow for those 2 years. A minor speed increase a few months ago. The city has set deadlines, and is about to "do something".

So, flying airplanes into the ground does not surprise me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thales

So, flying airplanes into the ground does not surprise me.

The loss of AF447 was ultimately traceable to crappy Thales pitot tubes, so the company can also claim expertise in flying aircraft into the sea.

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Ooooops

And I thought I was a bad RC pilot (crashed a few planes and helis in my time). Mine were defo a bit cheaper though lol

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Blackadder drones forth!

fling itself into the ground from a great height

I think I remember that scene.

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Black Helicopters

is there a pattern?

Weather, red dragons, software, hardware or wetwear*?

(*PEBCAK)

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Re: is there a pattern?

Weather, red dragons, software, hardware or wetwear*?

Yes.

(And wetware too..)

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" The MoD tried to hush those crashes up, saying nothing publicly until the news accidentally leaked at a defence trade show."

So that's five crashes that we know about so far, plus an unknown number of other crashes that haven't yet leaked.

Perhaps they should patch out the lithobraking option in the software.

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what are they doing?

Are they using these to spy on Brits? I know you guys let them put a gazillion CC cameras in London (which is probably a good idea with all the undesirables there now) but why is the army flying surveillance drones over civilian areas?

You guys put up with alot more of this kind of crap than we yanks would.

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Re: what are they doing?

I know you guys let them put a gazillion CC cameras in London (which is probably a good idea with all the undesirables there now)

Hasn't helped a jot. There have been 74 murders in 2018 in London, and about 2,000 moped robberies a month. For all the CCTV, the Metropolitan Police appear to have abdicated control of the streets.

why is the army flying surveillance drones over civilian areas?

Because we haven't got a war to go to. But in this case, it's development and training flying, not domestic surveillance. Nobody lives in West Wales (well, a few esteemed commentards do).

You guys put up with alot more of this kind of crap than we yanks would.

Maybe. Looking at what your TLAs have been up to, and the abuse of both process, law and technology by your police, I think that USAians are worse off than we are. At least our domestic surveillance agency (GCHQ) is constrained by both funding and its own incompetence, and our police aren't running routinely armed and busy shooting off like they're at the OK Corral.

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Re: what are they doing?

"Are they using these to spy on Brits? "

No.

We, like the rest of the "civilised" world have domestic agencies for that. Separation of army and police, all that jazz.

The Met has taken a leaf out of certain TLAs operations manual, and runs it's spy planes through front corporations with PO Box contact details to avoid having to discuss exactly how much of this targeted spying whatnot goes on.

Luckily there are some seriously beardy plane spotters out there, and a light plane with a camera dome in it's belly is somewhat noticeable. The people who make the camera;s also aren't shy about tooting the horn over their products capabilities, such as ANPR.

It's a technique that is certainly used in the US, and almost certainly by the other five eyes. Exactly how legal certain aspects of it are (stingray) are up for debate, but cops with a camera in the sky are generally accepted as being legal.

"why is the army flying surveillance drones over civilian areas?"

Easements, or it's crown land. I get a form letter from the MoD about my Welsh "farm" where they notify me when they are planning on sending some squaddies through, with who to contact if they fuck something up. Or "accidentally" kill a sheep, and then cook it up, as soldier have done since time immemorial.

They also have a standing notice that they might fly planes over, which is why it's not much good for anything other than subsidy collection. Well, any locals who want to keep their sheep on it can, in exchange for a spot of mutton once a year.

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Re: what are they doing?

You guys put up with alot more of this kind of crap than we yanks would.

Give it time, we'll catch up with them.

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Re: what are they doing?

"For all the CCTV, the Metropolitan Police appear to have abdicated control of the streets."

The government has abdicated funding the police force, mental health services and social services properly.

You can't blame Labour any more, the Cons have now been mismanaging the economy and foreign affairs for 8 years solid.

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Re: Are they using these to spy on Brits?

Nothing to spy on in West Wales, mate. I lived there for 40 years.

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Re: what are they doing?

"Are they using these to spy on Brits?"

They're using them to spy on *sheep*.

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Re: what are they doing?

"They're using them to spy on *sheep*."

Stupid, sexy sheep.

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Re: what are they doing?

Or "accidentally" kill a sheep, and then cook it up, as soldier have done since time immemorial.

"Sorry sarge, it got in my sights just as I was firing.." (never mind that only blanks were issued and bullets don't generally leave a nice clean slash across the throat..)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: what are they doing?

How else can you count all those sheep?

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Re: what are they doing?

"Sorry sarge, it got in my sights just as I was firing.."

The story I heard from my Grampy was that they would nominate some rocks as target practice, and then "discover" the mistake later. Or indeed the sheep was going for the throat, so I had to give it the bayonet....

These days I gather it's part of the training of young officers to explain to a surly Welshman that he's down one sheep, and sort out the appropriate amount of reimbursement-by-form and by brown envelope. Good practice for when you're trying to win hearts and minds.

They also do escape and evade occasionally, where the locals are supposed to not help the runners. The Welsh having the typical amount of respect that one expects for being told what to do by a rupert tend to cook up an extra fruitcake to give out.

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Re: what are they doing?

The government has abdicated funding the police force, mental health services and social services properly. You can't blame Labour any more, the Cons have now been mismanaging the economy and foreign affairs for 8 years solid.

Well,l if the knob-ends of the Labour party hadn't presided over the UK's share of the 2008 financial crisis, and hadn't pissed all the money up the wall on PFI and fuck-knows-what, you'd have case.

I'd be the first to agree that the Cameron/May governments are utterly incompetent - but to imply that Labour weren't culpable for the state of public finances you'd have to be criminally stupid (and I don't believe you are).

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Location, location, location

From the article:

the airport, which is about 144km (90 miles) northwest of Cardiff.

A rather strange way of describing it. Some might have said it was 33 miles southwest of Aberystwyth or maybe 5 miles east-northeast of Cardigan, or even 5 miles east-northeast of Aberteifi. Because if you've no idea where Cardigan or Aberystwyth are then you probably don't know where Cardiff is, either.

Or the article could even have given a link to a map.

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Re: Location, location, location

Well, Cardiff is about the only place in Wales the English speaking world has heard of (apart from 'hey, don't you guys have that place with the longest name in the world?' - we don't. That honour goes to Taumatawhakatangi­hangakoauauotamatea­turipukakapikimaunga­horonukupokaiwhen­uakitanatahu), and it's so close to the border it's barely in Wales.

It's as though, when they decided Wales could have its own capital city in 1955, they looked at where it could go so that they wouldn't have to go too far into Wales if they ever needed to visit.

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Re: Location, location, location

Taumatawhakatangi­hangakoauauotamatea­turipukakapikimaunga­horonukupokaiwhen­uakitanatahu is only 85 characters.

In Thai, Bangkok is often called Krung Thep Maka Nakhon, or just Krung Thep. However, the full name is “Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.”

Which is 169 characters....

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Re: Location, location, location

Great commentarderie Dodgy Geezer. What does all that mean? PP

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Pint

Bangkok full name @ DG

OK Dodge Geezer. There was a lul so I found this.

Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit

The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (unlike Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn.

Enquiring minds etc. PP My pleasure. I'm here all week, Oh wait. ICON.

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Re: Bangkok full name @ DG

That's awesome, I think all city names should include a diss of another city. So something like Plymouth the impregnable port (unlike Cadiz).

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I have a guess!

"A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman declined to comment on what the Watchkeeper was doing when it crashed."

I'm going to say "Flying". Until it wasn't, of course.

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Re: I have a guess! - I'm going to say "Flying". Until it wasn't, of course.

I want to know if the AI was thinking "Oh shit o shit o shit I'm going to die!".

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Joke

Re: I have a guess! - I'm going to say "Flying". Until it wasn't, of course.

Or, given what happened to other drones, it might have been thinking "Oh no, not again."

(Apologies to Douglas Adams)

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Re: I have a guess! - I'm going to say "Flying". Until it wasn't, of course.

Or another one from Douglas Adams:

There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.

Apparently this drone did not miss.

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Re: I have a guess! - I'm going to say "Flying". Until it wasn't, of course.

Apparently this drone did not miss

Quick - sell the secrets to the Yanks! Their drones/pilots/tanks regularly miss - unless there's a British flag on the APC..

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Anonymous Coward

Japanese software?

maybe it's a plan? kind of worked in the Pacific a while ago...

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Anonymous Coward

RAF

ARMY, flying planes.

No there's ya problem.

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Big Brother

Re: RAF

think its on El Reg somewhere.

The RAF only let officers fly drones, were as the Army lets sergeants fly drones. Apart from this Watchkeeper joke the Army crashes less.

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Re: RAF

Army lets sergeants fly drones

Sergants are officers too - the main difference is that they work for a living..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RAF

You forget the Army Air Corps.

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Re: RAF

"Sergants are officers too - the main difference is that they work for a living"

The son of a friend is a mid rank commissioned officer in the AAF. They work for a living. As has been the case since the buying of commissions stopped. In the 19th century.

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Coat

> One of those crashed after its crew disabled anti-crash systems,

Since when has the MoD contracted out their drones to Uber?

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Enquiring minds wish to know ...

... whether it’s more “Brexit” or “Breaks it”?

Another chapter from “Thales of the Unexpected” perhaps?

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Pint

Watchkeeper II

All they need to do is mount a fixed warhead on the Watchkeeper, add an impact fuse and then they have had 5 successful test deployments.

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Simple Patch required(that's £1000000 thanks)

Software modification required

if(DistanceToGround < 10 and not Landing ){

Direction = up;

}

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Simple Patch required(that's £1000000 thanks)

I think they already have that code in their somewhere... MOD has so far managed to keep it quiet that Watchkeeper likes to take off without warning

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Environmental impact report in 3..2..1...

" one crew used foam to clean up the resulting fuel spill. "

Aviation firefighting foam is quite toxic - a number of authorities around the world have ordered that it cease being used in training exercises due to problems with the runoff.

(not to mention it being very good at disguising people laying on the ground such that they end up being run over by the firefighting trucks, as happened at SFO)

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Finally!

A use for Wales.

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Why not to have bean counters in charge

Drone program: Way over budget, dumb decisions (turning off anti crash programs) while flying during thunderstorms. Hiring poor quality engineers to keep the budget down instead of quality engineers, Lack of communication, and too many decision makers where only one is needed and that person should be an engineer. NOT a politician. NOT a bean counter! And NOT a CEO or President or Vice president who doesn't know squat about engineering or design. Step away from the bully on attitude which is the British way of mucking through things.

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What's all the fuss about, check the specs on Wikipedia, it's all as desgined....

Typical Endurance: 17 hours

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Anonymous Coward

Minimum Of Five

At least five. If they hid the two, they may be hiding others.

They are approaching a 10% crash rate.

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Angel

"The aircraft has been secured"

They've chained whats left to the ground, just to be sure, it doesn't get any more clever ideas.

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