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
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.