A drone aircraft crashed around noon Monday on Maryland's Eastern shore near Salisbury, but did not cause any injuries or property damage, Naval officials said.
The drone was on a training flight when it crashed near Bloodsworth Island, near the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Jaime Cosgrove, a spokeswoman for the Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons program, told the Washington Post.
The cause of the 44-foot unmanned plane's crash is still being investigated, while the U.S. Coast Guard keeps a safety zone around the site. Footage from a WBOC-TV helicopter showed an aircraft-shaped dent in the ground where the drone crash-landed.
The $46 million Northrop Grumman RQ-4A BAMS-D drone is operated by a crew of four on the ground as it flies up to 11 miles in the air at speeds of up to 391 mph. It has a range of 10,500 nautical miles and can remain in the air for more than 30 hours.
The U.S. has faced increased domestic and foreign heat over its use of unmanned drones in strike missions against terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The drone that crashed in Maryland is one of five the armed forces bought and have been using in the Middle East for more than 5,500 hours since 2008.
The Naval station at the Patuxent River is the service's test pilot school and hub for all aircraft research and support systems.