Revenge of the Drones: target drone hits side of a Navy’s guided missile cruiser

On Nov. 16, a Northrop Grumman BQM-74 target drone hit guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) punching a three to four foot hone in the side of the warship.

The mishap occurred at 01.25 local time during a “tracking exercise during an air tracking event,” resulting in “minor injuries to two sailors,” according to Navy officials.

The target drone hit the side of the warship, near the ship’s Command Information Center (CIC), where the control room for the Aegis radar system is located; the ship was conducting Combat System Ship Qualification Trials (CSSQT) to assess the onboard Aegis combat system.

During the test, the operator of the BQM-74 that simulated an enemy aircraft or missile, lost control of the drone that eventually punctured the ship without any of the onboard self-defense systems could be activated to shoot it down.

Image credit: NBC 7 San Diego/USNI

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Anyone know what the EEEH markings on the upper portion of the deckhouse mean? Are those kill markings (as in cruise missile launches)?

    • “E” is the Navy’s Battle Efficiency award. A ship will receive it after successfully passing a year-long readiness evaluation. Hash marks below the “E” indicate consecutive awards. Incidentally, the red “E” indicates an Engineering/Survivability award.
      “H” is a medical health and wellness award.
      Basically, all of CG-62’s awards indicate it’s a bad ass ship and crew that’s ready to rumble… unless you’re fighting a friendly drone of course…

  2. That was one target missile that … really hit the target.

    Someone should’ve told that drone it was only supposed to be simulating an antishipping missile. Not to actually be one.

  3. hmmmm, I wonder how reactive armor would handle anti-ship missiles? Can it respond quickly enough to mitigate damage, especially penetration?

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