Here are some great new pics of that C-130H that collided with an RQ-7 Shadow UAV over Afghanistan last year.
According to the tipster who sent these our way, the aircraft lost all fuel out of the left wing -- something you'd expect when a giant hole is punched in the wing. This meant that the right wing was full of 15,000-pounds of aviation fuel, a situation that caused the aircraft to tip so far to the right that it was in danger of tipping over and tearing the wings and wing box apart while the plane sat on the ground at a forward operating base. Look at the pic above, notice how the left wing is still pretty high despite being weighed down by a pallet of . . . heavy stuff . . . that's tied to it. Can't you just imagine one nasty gust of wind tipping the aircraft? Maintenance crews scrambled for three days to level the aircraft and it's now being fully repaired in Utah.
As we've said before, this incident was almost inevitable in the crowded skies over Middle Eastern war zones where smaller UAVs piloted by operators with limited situational awareness buzz all over low-altitude airspace. The problem was so bad at one point that I had C-130 pilots tell me their biggest fear while flying at low-altitude wasn't being shot at by insurgents, it was colliding with a UAV. So called, sense-and-avoid technology is being rapidly developed to help avoid this type of situation. Sense-and-avoid tech basically tells drones when they are close to another aircraft and to automatically avoid a collision.
Click through the jump for a couple more pics.