US Navy sub accidentally collides with downed Reaper drone
The Navy has categorized the event as a Class-A Oopsie.
US NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY, SOUDA BAY — The nuclear submarine USS West Dakota (SSN-013) docked for repairs today after an apparent and totally like, accidental, underwater collision with the recently downed US MQ-9 Reaper drone.
Sixth Fleet representative Cdr. Helene Marcopolis said that the Titanic-class nuclear submarine was on a routine whale watching patrol in the Black Sea on March 14 when what was described as a “wicked big clunk and scraping sounds” reverberated through the hull.
After surfacing, crew members inspecting the submarine’s superstructure found what appeared to be aircraft parts: a wheel, part of a tail assembly, and an identification plate reading “if found return to General Atomics.”
Marcopolis stated that the wreckage is most likely from the US European Command (EUCOM) Reaper that crashed into the Black Sea on March 14. She stressed that until ownership is confirmed, the parts could also be from another nation’s drone that was “downed by absolute Russian jackassery.”
The collision is under investigation. However, West Dakota’s captain, Lt. Cdr. Max Steerwell, said, “No way is this our fault this time. I mean, that drone literally fell out of the sky onto us! How the hell were we supposed to see that thing coming?”
Naval experts note that nuclear submarines usually operate acoustic sonar, manned by two operators, that scans the ocean for things coming.
Unconfirmed reports are that one sonar operator may have been away from his station, in line at the sub galley for a soft-serve chocolate and strawberry swirly ice cream cone. Steerwell also said the second operator was “definitely not playing Grand Theft Auto V on the sonar console, not in any way.”
Marcopolis said that the partial recovery of the Air Force drone parts highlights the joint cooperation between USEUCOM military services. She added that the only downside to the situation is that the West Dakota’s orders called for it to patrol in the Mediterranean Sea, not the Black Sea. The Navy intends to address that issue through crew navigational remedial training, which is a 10-minute interactive slide presentation available online.
As the West Dakota immediately departed the area without recording the location of the collision, the incident is not likely to aid further recovery efforts.“We were pretty freaked out,” said Steerwell, “I mean come on that thing just fell out of the sky onto us! Accidentally!”
At press time, unconfirmed reports suggested Steerwell had been relieved of command for loss of confidence in his ability to shift blame to subordinates.