PACIFIC OCEAN - An MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle crashed into the side of the San Diego-based Littoral Combat Ship USS Charleston (LCS-18) after taking off from the ship during a routine training mission, the Navy said. The rotary-wing UAV was operating from the ship around 9:40 a.m. when the collision happened in the western Pacific, according to a U.S. 3rd Fleet news release. The UAV fell into the sea and was not recovered. The incident damaged a safety net on the ship and struck the hull. Damage appears limited to an area above the waterline. Nobody was injured and the LCS continued to safely operate after the incident. The cause is under investigation. (Source: multiple, including USNI, Associated Press, 04/27/21) Gulf Coast note: The USS Charleston was built by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala.; The Fire Scout is built in part in Moss Point, Miss.