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The disastrous chase between two American fighters and a ghost plane

Avatar of Nick John By Nick John Dec10,2023 #American #disastrous
The disastrous chase between two American fighters and a ghost plane 0
The disastrous chase between two American fighters and a ghost plane 0

An F6F-5K drone.

The US Air Force in 1956 experienced the `Battle of Palmdale`, a humiliating incident in the US sky, when two of its modern fighters launched a `rain of rockets` but could not bring down a single plane

In the 1950s, the US Navy often used the F6F-5K Hellcat unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as target practice for anti-aircraft missiles.

At Oxnard Air Force Base, two F-89D Scorpion jet fighters of the 437th Fighter Interceptor Squadron immediately launched.

Two F-89Ds caught up with the Hellcat aircraft northeast of the city of Los Angels at an altitude of more than 9.1 km.

The F-89D pilot waited for the UAV to leave the populated area to destroy it, while praying it would not crash into the buildings below.

At this time, American fighter pilots have the opportunity to fire unguided folding wing rockets (FFAR) Mk 4 to destroy the target.

Because the UAV maneuvered erratically, the pilot decided to use a computer to calculate the ballistics, instead of using the manual method.

The pilot pressed the rocket launch button twice but failed, due to a design error in the fire control system that prevented the rocket from being launched.

At this point, the pilots did not have any aiming devices to handle the object that was constantly changing its flight path.

The disastrous chase between two American fighters and a ghost plane

Map of locations that the Hellcat flew over.

After a while of circling around the Antelope Valley, the UAV turned south, returning to Los Angeles city.

The UAV continued towards the town of Newhall, the fighters launched 64 more rockets but still missed the target.

After launching all 208 missiles, the interceptor also ran out of fuel and was forced to return to the Oxnard base.

During the fall, it severed three southern California power cables, flipped several times before crashing to the ground, breaking into pieces.

Disaster on the ground

The pilot did not hit the target but caused great damage on the ground.

Several rockets caused fires throughout the city of Palmdale.

At Placeria Canyon, two men had just gotten off the bus to have lunch when the car was hit by a rocket and exploded.

It took 500 firefighters two days to put out the fire, while an explosive ordnance clearance team was mobilized to deal with 13 unexploded rockets in Palmdale.

See more: The British army borrowed Russian tanks for exercises

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