The U-T San Diego news website reported on the findings of Navy report on the
Chancellorsville drone crash incident (1) (see, "Chancellorsville Hit By Drone"). The report was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The website made the following points in the quotes below.
• The target drone's control system failed, causing it to ignore the “turn away” command given by the Point Mugu control room.
• The operator of the ship's Close-In Weapons System – a warship's last line of defense against incoming missiles – received a “recommend fire” alert at his console, and reported it verbally. The ship's air warfare coordinator – one of three people on the ship with the authority to engage weapons – heard but did not act on the alert.
• The Point Mugu control room did not immediately call "rogue drone" when the drone failed to turn away a little more than 2 nautical miles from the ship. Sailors relied upon this "rogue drone" call. Not hearing the call, they did nothing to protect the ship, the report said.
• The team at Point Mugu knew the drone control system had failed or showed glitches several times that day, but they didn't stop the exercise or even tell the ship. “I question this control team's ability to continue to adequately service Pacific Fleet ships,” Harris said in his comments.
• The ship's combat systems coordinator changed the protocol for automatically activating the
Chancellorsville's surface missile tracking system – without telling the skipper. The crew expected the missile system to track the drone and “were distracted attempting to conduct manual (tracking) while the drone continued inbound.”
Some initial reports had suggested that the ship’s CIWS had engaged the drone and missed but this report suggests the CIWS never engaged.
Plenty of blame to go around.