The Australian Broadcasting Corporation: too important to be left to its Friends. Email.
Media Watch, 1
Sunday, May 02, 2004
IT'S NOT CALLED HENNY PENNY HERALD for nothing.
Yesterday's Herald leads with news of its own manufacture, and you wouldn't want to take what's on offer without a warranty.
"Crash and burn: $1bn spy plane disaster. Accident-prone drones on the way."
Henny is referring to the Global Hawk drone, of which only seven prototypes have yet been made (if you can take Henny's word on that) and four have crashed.
"This dismal record emerged as a Herald investigation ....
" The Global Hawk disasters ...."
And so on.
It turns out, according to Henny's own story that of the four lost drones, three were lost by operator errors of one kind or another, and only one due to failure of the drone itself. Even that crash was caused by the failure of an engine that was probably off-the-shelf, and not part of the drone project.
"Pentagon data shows the Hawk with a crash rate 50 times higher than for the F-16 fighter plane".
But the Hawk is an experimental project and the F-16 an operational aircraft in routine service!
I doubt if even Auntie's communards are silly enough to run with this story.