A bird-like surveillance drone crashed in southwestern Pakistan late last week, close to the Afghan border. Some spare parts and a camera were found with it, but they are not pictured. The Pakistani Frontier Corps in Baluchistan province recovered the drone, and they declared it to be an “American surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle.” While the United States does use UAVs to monitor militants in Pakistan, this doesn’t look like anything the military flies. That we know of, anyway.
Danger Room’s Spencer Ackerman compared the unidentified drone with the SmartBird drone from Festo, which was inspired by the herring gull. There are notable differences between the two, as the wings of the mystery drone are straighter and more sharply angled than the SmartBird’s rounder wings. The SmartBird’s wings are made up of more than one type of material, while the mystery drone seems to be made of only one type of material. Not to mention that the mystery drone seems to have hosted a propeller and has ailerons, while the SmartBird, pictured below, doesn’t have either.
At any rate, it seems to have crashed on its own, rather than being shot down as the wreckage is almost entirely intact, except for some scorch marks that you can see in the photo.
This could be the work of soldiers toying around with equipment. It could just as easily be from China, India, or one of the many other countries with UAV capabilities and an insatiable need to spy.