Fisherman catches military drone

The DestinLog reports that a fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico recovered an Air Force BQM-167A airel target drone. The Airforce claim that the drone was lost because its engines cut out … I wonder if the hot shot pilots missed their target 😉

The drone had been lost March 10 due to an engine flame-out during a routine training exercise.

It was found in the Tampa area and turned over to MacDill Air Force Base. The drone belongs to the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, a tenant unit at Tyndall. That squadron falls under the 53rd Wing at Eglin Air Force Base.

Glenn E. Davis was fishing about 60 miles off shore when he spotted the drone Sunday afternoon. He towed it into Madeira Beach the next day.

Photo from Penellas County Sheriff’s Office

If I caught a drone my first call would be to my lawyer, not the local sheriff, to check if it was legal salvage. I am sure he would have netted a few grand on eBay.

[Hat Tip: Outdoor Pressroom via. SaysUncle ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Matt Groom

    I would have kept it and my mouth shut! Mounted it on a pole in my back yard. “Hey, neighbor! Come check this out!”

  • Burst

    For the sake of hypothetical argument, and not at all seriously:
    How much hacking and what type of setup would you need to render this drone fully operational?

  • DJ

    Hahaha, I think I just saw some black helicopters fly by your house.

  • Josh

    I hope he sent them a bill for the recovery anyway. A 60-mile tow from out at sea isn’t free!

  • Lance

    The pilots probally did miss the drone. Cool find.

  • p

    Unit cost to the military is in excess of $570K per drone, salvage value would be close to half that.

  • Wow. That fisherman is going to have one hell of a story for his grand kids 😀

  • Martin

    Wow, I’m surprised the Air Force Navy didn’t get to it first. The USAF actually has it’s own recovery ships (the Tyndall Navy).

  • GK

    Generally you want to “miss” the drone. For live shots, missiles have their warheads removed and replaced with telemetry packages for data recording. Ideally, the missile will pass within lethal range, but not impact the drone, allowing it to be used again. However that doesn’t prevent the occasional hard kill, when the missile will actually smack it.