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Airprox board says police drone and jet had ‘near-miss’

The police drone passed by the fighter jet at an altitude of about 300ft (90m)

A police drone had a “near-miss” with a fighter jet travelling at 520mph (836km/h), a report has revealed.

The drone’s operator “honestly believed” the two would collide in mid-air, according to the UK Airprox Board.

It said the risk of a crash above Throwleigh, Devon, was “high” but the officer had lowered the drone quickly.

Devon and Cornwall Police said it had notified Airprox, which was “content that there was no blame nor any lessons to be learned”.

The drone was flying at an altitude of about 300ft (90m) on 16 January, according to the report.

“The jet came into view from right to left and seemed to pass by the drone at the same altitude; it looked like the jet was within 200m laterally of the drone.

“Once the jet was in view it started banking to the right and [the operator] honestly believed it was going to collide with the drone.

“The jet continued and was followed a few seconds later by a second jet.”

The F-15 pilot, who was flying at an altitude of 500ft (152m), could not see the drone, the report added.

The board said the case had prompted discussions about whether the service which helps the military plan routes through UK airspace should incorporate information from other sources.

Devon and Cornwall Police established the UK’s first permanent drone unit in 2017.

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