I never even heard of an RQ-170 before. Now I harbor the knowledge that it is affectionately dubbed "The Beast of Kandahar"! Well, apparently the beast was a bit rambunctious and a lot too tame.
Stealthy Vehicle Goes Wandering and Touches Down Gently
OK, I get that it is a remotely piloted vehicle. I understand that these things can possibly do their own version of the "Blue Screen of Death" and like most of our home computers maybe require a reboot or the dreaded firmware update. But isn't this supposed to be some sort of cosmic top-secret spy widget direct from the undergound lair of Q? Didn't we have a little flap-a-doodle a few months ago about a crashed spooky Blackhawk with a super-silent tail rotor? Don't we learn from these events?
So there you are hyper-ventilating in your air-conditioned trailer in your leather Lazy-Boy with your cold can of Red Bull sweating on the neato Air Force logo coaster when suddenly your special custom GameBoy controller no longer seems to be directing the Bat Plane. What do you do? Is this like taking an SA-14 up the prostate exam access receptacle? Will you earn a DFC for this or be severely reprimanded for losing track of your assigned toy? Do you have a checklist covering this situation?
According to the news item, you need not worry because the Spook-mo-Plane is programmed to maintain level flight, draw upon it's genuine OnStar traffic database and find a suitable landing location where it will set down gently without harm to bystanders or voiding your LockMart warranty.
The only catch is that chosen airfield is owned and operated by Iranians-R-Us and they are not our friends. Special delivery, Candy-Gram for Mahmud Ahmadinejad!
What ever happened to "this tape will self-destruct after thirty seconds"? What became of the little fail-safe package and the red button on the console to make all of the secrets disappear before being delivered to the bad guy's research lab? Can't we do a simple thing like mort our own errant drone before turning it over to the enemy?
Maybe Game Boy shouldn't get to wear wings and get combat pay after all. Apparently the really critical man-in-the-loop decisions take a different breed of warrior.