On 15th September, as Głos Wielkopolski suggests, a Polish F-16 fighter probably collided with an unmanned aerial vehicle. Lt. Col. Marek Pietrzak of the Polish General Command of the Armed Forces, told Defence24.pl that on 15th September, during a routine walk-around, some dents were noted on the surface of the airframe of one of the F-16 fighters. On the same day, a commission began works, the aim of which is to clarify the circumstances of the incidents. The commission includes the representatives of the 2nd Tactical Fighter Wing and the 31st Tactical Aviation Base.
Lt. Col. Pietrzak noted that, at the moment, it is too early to asses the possible causes, and that until the commission’s works are completed, no related information is going to be released to the public. Pietrzak noted that the damage (similar to a damage occurring after a birdstrike) was noted after the landing.
Throughout the flight, the pilot received no information about the collision from the on-board systems, the event had no other impact on the operation of the airplane, thus it has been classified as an incident.
On 21st September, the 2nd Tactical Aviation Wing issued a release reminding the users of the unmanned aerial vehicles and models, with a mass of 25 kg, that there is an absolute need of obtaining an authorization, in order to carry out operation in the military air-traffic zones. Content and date of the announcement are a proof, that drone collision is considered to be one of the causes of the incident.
Threat for the manned aircraft (both civilian, as well as military) emerged in the Polish public sphere for the first time, following the incident from 21st July, when a small UAV flew close to a Lufthansa airliner, creating a potentially dangerous situation. The drones may be involved in accidents or may be used to cause an air crash on purpose (e.g. by the terrorist organizations).
Acting against operations of small UAV’s is quite difficult, since there is a need of detecting and classifying the potential threats in advance. The industry however already undertook relevant works, the aim of which is to develop proper systems that would operate within the above-mentioned scope.