Print 15 comment(s) - last by DougF.. on Oct 30 at 9:25 AM

Predator B UAV  (Source: AP)
The USAF is relying both on manned and unmanned craft in the future

The United States Air Force is looking to broaden the use of manned and unmanned spy craft, with the USAF looking to expand spy craft towards "the full spectrum" of operations, according to USAF Brig. Gen. Bob Otto.

More recently, the Air Force has increased its surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, teaching its pilots to control unmanned vehicles.  The Reaper, Predator and Global Hawk unmanned UAVs are the focus of the Air Force in the future, with drones used to attack targets in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan, and now patrolling the Somali coast.

Along with unmanned craft, the Air Force also is increasing pilots trained to fly the U-2 aircraft, while also setting aside necessary funds for the MC-12W manned spy craft.

The use of both manned and unmanned craft are increasingly important when many air strikes are aimed at specific targets.  The U-2 can be used to collect intelligence using manned aircraft, and then unmanned UAVs have the ability to launch attacks.  

So far in 2009, the U-2 spy plane flew 600 missions, with specialized use in operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom -- the Global Hawk was involved in 250 missions.  Unmanned craft are able to stay in the air for much longer durations, with pilots safely stationed onbase, which makes unmanned craft an important weapon moving forward.

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I'm sorry, is this news?
By JonnyDough on 10/29/2009 9:26:05 AM , Rating: 2
You'd have had to have been asleep like Rumplestiltskin for the last decade if you didn't know this was happening. This isn't really any type of update...what part of this is NEWs?

I would say that I'm qualified to comment since I'm a serving member of the USAF. :)

RE: I'm sorry, is this news?
By Gorga on 10/29/2009 9:41:16 AM , Rating: 2
Cool story BRO, but I think you mean Rip Van Winkle.

Fixed. :)

RE: I'm sorry, is this news?
By JonnyDough on 10/29/2009 10:13:28 AM , Rating: 1
Well WTF did Rumplestiltskin do then? If I can't even remember it I suppose it wasn't all that important. He raced a gingerbread man while wearing a red cloak and posing as a wolf before baking some bread for a stork or some crazy shit. Stupid nursery rhymes. I got my head filled with a bunch of more conservative crap as a kid I guess. Aesops Fables would have been nice, but all I got was a bunch of lame bible stories. Thank mother nature for science fiction and our forefathers for the freedom to disown religion. :P

RE: I'm sorry, is this news?
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 10/29/2009 11:20:51 AM , Rating: 4
Try doubling your medication and see if that helps.

RE: I'm sorry, is this news?
By JonnyDough on 10/30/2009 5:24:24 AM , Rating: 3
Yes. That's what I need. More flu vaccination because the Air Force allows people to join who have mental issues. I believe the average reader on this site must be about 19...I have no idea how else you would have gotten ranked up.

RE: I'm sorry, is this news?
By omnicronx on 10/29/2009 12:10:31 PM , Rating: 1
Would that not make you unqualified to comment? Are we suppose to be surprised that a member of the USAF knows about the shift to UAV's and increased spy missions?

P.S Glad to see that grammar and spelling skills are not requisites for flying multimillion/billion dollar aircraft (or maintain or whatever you do)

RE: I'm sorry, is this news?
By JonnyDough on 10/30/2009 5:29:44 AM , Rating: 2
Considering I pay more attention to any news related to the USAF, I would think that I would be a good source to find out whether this has been in the news a lot or not.

Reinstate the SR-71 Blackbird
By TerranMagistrate on 10/29/2009 12:34:25 PM , Rating: 3
If it hasn't been already in secrecy. It might be useful on rogue nations like Iran with some respectable anti-air capabilities. Enormous operational and maintenance costs aside, this engineering marvel is an asset to the USAF.

RE: Reinstate the SR-71 Blackbird
By philmax on 10/29/2009 6:13:19 PM , Rating: 2
no real-time updates on the ground from the plane, which even the U-2 has (according to wikipedia b/c I was wondering about the same thing). It has to be a killer to have to wait for the plane to land to see what it took pics of

RE: Reinstate the SR-71 Blackbird
By DougF on 10/30/2009 9:25:20 AM , Rating: 2
The Predator and Reaper both have real-time links to both satellite and (LOS) ground stations to send information to the battle managers.

RE: Reinstate the SR-71 Blackbird
By Shadowself on 10/29/2009 7:38:45 PM , Rating: 2
The shift has been from Strategic to Tactical and from Reconnaissance to Surveillance, the Blackbird does not fit this shift. Its time on station (loiter time) is extremely poor. It stalls at a speed higher than the cruise speed of virtually all the rest of our ISR aircraft (manned or unmanned).

RE: Reinstate the SR-71 Blackbird
By JonnyDough on 10/30/2009 5:26:39 AM , Rating: 2
Considering the exhuberant cost of getting that amazing jet off the ground I think we're better off using the predators, don't you?

That predator looks sexy as hell
By Regs on 10/29/2009 11:51:56 AM , Rating: 2
Makes you think that even weapons manufacturers have to adhere to the concepts of marketing, and make the vehicles and machines look attractive for the US Military so that they would purchase them. What if I wanted to market and sell a tank that looked like the Oscar-Meyer wiener mobile? How well do you think that will go over?

By kattanna on 10/29/2009 12:01:22 PM , Rating: 2
What if I wanted to market and sell a tank that looked like the Oscar-Meyer wiener mobile?

hmmm.. imagine a fleet of them coming over the hill.. and what the taliban would think of them.

the scare factor alone would be worth it, IMO

By Smartless on 10/29/2009 2:36:56 PM , Rating: 2
You know what the shift to angled armor to deflect IEDs and the weiner mobile being curved.... Where's my patent stamp.

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