ARLINGTON, Va. – The Department Of Defense is blaming a series of recent drone malfunctions on Mercury Retrograde, an astrological anomaly occurring several times a year when the speed at which the planet Mercury rotates on its axis drastically decreases. The phenomenon has been known to affect, among other things, communication, the gender of newborns, and travel.
“Admittedly we did not anticipate Mercury Retrograde having such an impact on drone aircraft,” said Major General Thomas Sheffield who oversees U.S. Air Force drone operations in the Arabian Peninsula. On May 19th, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a car bombing that killed four people in Kabul, Afghanistan. It was later determined the explosion was caused by an errant Predator drone that had locked onto the vehicle and launched a missile after its targeting controls malfunctioned due to interference caused by Mercury Retrograde.
On May 20th, the Air Force lost contact with three armed drones launched from Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. Initially, it was believed the drones, destined for an undisclosed location in Eastern Africa, had crashed. However, several hours later France’s Ministry of Defence radar systems caught three “low-flying” unidentified aircraft over Paris. Military jets were scrambled to intercept the aircraft, which turned out to be the missing American drones. An international incident was avoided, when at the last second, U.S. Air Force operators were able to regain control of the armed drones and guide them out of French airspace.
The Gemini cycle of Mercury Retrograde began on May 19th and will end June 11th, but despite the dangers it poses, the Department of Defense says it has no plans to halt drone operations. “These are trying times we live in,” Major General Sheffield said, adding, “Mercury’s effect on our lives is far more prominent than many of us realize. This is not a time for fear or worry but a wonderful opportunity for self-reflection.”
The final Mercury Retrograde of 2015 is set to begin on September 17th and concludes October 9th. The DoD is currently working with drone manufacturers to figure out a way to refit its fleet of unmanned aircraft to withstand Mercury’s effects in time for the next cycle.