Air Force drone crashes and explodes in Florida, shutting down highway

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Top Tier Gear USA


QF4 Drone

A United States military drone presumed to be a QF-4 crashed, exploded and sent up a large black cloud of smoke Wednesday morning at Tyndall Air Force Base.

Local news outlets from the Florida panhandle region reported Wednesday morning that an unmanned aerial vehicle crashed on the drone runway at Tyndall AFB during take-off at 8:20 a.m. EST that morning.

Eyewitnesses told WJHG News that the drone “came in hard and fast” before it crashed.

According to the network, Tyndall officials said the drone was carrying a small self-destruct charge and “had to be destroyed for safety considerations during its return to base following a routine operation.”

Following the accident, the UAV reportedly went up in flames and started a ground fire, prompting authorities to close nearby Highway 98. They’ve reported no injuries.


This closure is being done strictly as a precautionary measure due to fires resulting from the crash and a small self-destruct charge carried on board the drone,” officials from Tyndall said in a statement. “The status of this device is unknown, however it is powered by a short-life battery which will be fully depleted in 24 hours.”

The Air Force described the QF-4 as a supersonic, reusable full-scale target drone modified from the F-4 Phantom and “provides a realistic full-scale target for air-to-air weapons system evaluation, development and testing.” The aircraft measures 63 feet long, 30,328 pounds and has a wingspan of more than 38 feet. Converting each jet to a UAV costs the Air Force an average of $2.6 million.

Only last week, officials at Tyndall ordered another QF-4 to self-destruct over the Gulf of Mexico. “The drone was carrying a small self-destruct charge and had to be destroyed for safety considerations during its return to base following a routine operation,” Tyndall announced at the time.

Late last year, an F-22 Raptor fighter jet crashed near Tyndall AFB, again prompting officials to close down Highway 98. An Air Force pilot safely ejected from the aircraft before the jet crashed a quarter-mile east of the drone runway.

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  • Andy

    OOPS,we can’t seem to get it right,or maybe someone shot it down.If they did good for them!There has been a lot of Army helicopter activity around Mississippi lately,but we do have Camp Shelby south of Hattiesburg going full time training troops for deployment to Afghanistan,even though Boobama says that we are down sizing there.I guess it is another lie,he just can’t help it,it is in his genetic makeup.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  • Cnsay

    A little over five million now pissed away on toys. Guess Oniglet and Moochie is gonna have cut back on the vacations. And the chances of that happening is as about as great as Moochie losing a few pounds.

  • AkCoyote

    I still like the idea of that community in Colorado issuing hunting licenses for drones. Absolutely classic!

  • RickE.

    This is just the beginning. As more drones are being utilized for spying on us, more will bite the dust just like all man-made machines!

    These are inherently dangerous machines and are not yet ready for civilian deployment!

    What will be the authorities rationale when they start killing simply by crashing? That death of innocents are the price we have to pay for unconstitutional intelligence gathering????

  • Old Poor Richard

    Calm down, folks. This is an old school drone–a fighter jet rigged for radio control used as targets for training and weapons testing in closed military airspace, not civilian airspace.

    Nothing to do with spying on or shooting at Americans.

    It’s an unfortunate confusion that police and military spy bots and Obama’s armed berserker-bots are also called drones.