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The Raven is each launched by hand by soldiers on the ground. It is small and lightweight, made out styrofoam, though it has a tough kevlar skin.  (Source: Newsweek/Xaquin G.V.)

The UAVs, including the Raven coordinate Apache strikes -- in this case on a car.  (Source: Newsweek/Xaquin G.V)
Against a civilian enemy that can strike anywhere UAVs are rewriting the book on reconnaissance and military strikes by offering a view of the battlefield at all times.

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Not a priority
By James Wood Carter on 6/6/2008 10:11:39 PM , Rating: -1
i think what the US has now is advanced enough ... don't think the US should spend that much on military in its near future, it hsould focus on things like how to solve medicare and such ... and how to get rid of the mounting debt the us has before its too late. Afterall its what funds the military.

RE: Not a priority
By mdogs444 on 6/6/2008 10:35:30 PM , Rating: 3
The shuffling of funds from one need to another is not a way to address the issue. The problem is medicare & military are both needed - but pork barrel projects, huge amounts of foreign aid, a corrupt welfare & social program procedure, and allowing non-citizens to benefit from tax dollars should be addressed first.

The US has risen to power not only by its economic GDP, but also by its military strength. Military spending, when compared with social programs, is hardly is comprable.

RE: Not a priority
By Master Kenobi on 6/6/2008 11:34:50 PM , Rating: 5
If we decide were "good enough" and cut way down on military spending, it will never go back up until such time that we are getting our asses handed to us against a foreign nation that decided to spend money on their military. By then its too late. So, I'm all for continued pumping of money into excellent projects like this. We need to keep pushing the edge or risk getting caught with our pants down later on.

RE: Not a priority
By Ringold on 6/7/2008 2:18:42 AM , Rating: 4
Exactly. It apparently scared Eisenhower, but he realized we no longer live in an era where a war could break out and a nation had six months, or even years, to raise an army from scratch. We were late to the action in WW1 partly because we had to spool up from almost no standing army to over 4 million men. WW2 we got lucky; Roosevelt might've trashed the constitution and lied to the people, but he prepared us will in advance such that Pearl Harbor was a mere formality, a pre-text for joining the fray.

I would imagine a future war between super powers could be over before we could even fully mobilize a draft and get the first men through basic, much less raise an entire army, navy, and air force. Plus, ships, aircraft and their weapons can take decades, not months, to design.

For example, the CVN-21, the first of our next-generation aircraft carriers, had construction begin last spring in 2007. It won't be done until 2015, assuming all goes well. That is eight years; has any modern war lasted that long?

On top of it all, US military spending as a percentage of GDP is only 3.7%, rebounding off a post-WW2 low of 3.0% set in 1999/2000. In 2005, government spending was about 35% of GDP. That indicates that as much as some people complain, it is but a relatively small piece of a much more vast government pie.

That said, Democrats are correct that in absolute terms spending is at a post WW2 high, but that's a useless measurement. Master Kenobi, in the movie you said it correctly; Only Sith Lords speak in absolutes!

RE: Not a priority
By Googer on 6/7/08, Rating: 0
RE: Not a priority
By FITCamaro on 6/8/2008 9:16:37 AM , Rating: 2
You realize that these are not just Styrofoam airplanes made in China right? You have to pay the engineers who design them, build them, and test them. Then theres the support staff who repair and maintain them.

The company I work for works on the Shadow program. It's not cheap.

RE: Not a priority
By Aloonatic on 6/9/08, Rating: 0
RE: Not a priority
By Reclaimer77 on 6/8/2008 2:27:28 PM , Rating: 2
Spending... only the US government would spend $35,000 on a Styrofoam airplane. Reminds me of the time I got rich selling Uncle Sam $40,000 screwdrivers.....

I guess you missed the part that these flew 45 thousand hours of missions that WOULD have been flown by a human pilot and conventional plane.

So lets see here, 35 thousand weighed against uhhhh how much does it costs to fly 45 thousand hours in a fighter plane with pilot ? Yeah approximately A LOT more.

RE: Not a priority
By Reclaimer77 on 6/8/2008 2:32:18 PM , Rating: 2
Edit : That was 45+ thousand flight hours LAST MONTH.

RE: Not a priority
By onwisconsin on 6/7/2008 8:56:04 PM , Rating: 2
Less soldiers on ground = Less likeliness of fatality.

I'm all for these UAVs. I don't mind spending on defense (read: DEFENSE, not INVADING other countries with no-bid contracts). On the other hand, it is HOW and WHERE and WHY they are being used that I disagree with. We've PO'd enough people 2003 on that we're just digging a deeper hole.

RE: Not a priority
By FITCamaro on 6/8/08, Rating: 0
RE: Not a priority
By bigdawg1988 on 6/8/08, Rating: 0
RE: Not a priority
By Reclaimer77 on 6/9/2008 7:20:48 PM , Rating: 2
What do you do when those people who can't afford healthcare decide to bash your skull in to get money to pay for their operations?

Actually before government mandated HMO's and health insurance, there was a time EVERYONE could walk into their doctors office and pay cash for a visit. The costs of healthcare have been driven UP by the effort to " help everyone ". You might want to look the facts up.

What happens to people who happen to lose their jobs because of some idiot CEO?

Uhh you get a new job ? This is America. If you can't make it your just not trying.

The military-industrial-political complex is alive and well and wasting our money on F-22s when they should have been making more UAVs.

The F-22 is an interceptor fighter/bomber. UAV's are SLOW moving recon and light attack drones. UAV's simply cannot replace the F-22, and calling them a waste of money is ignorant.

You're either really young, or you just woke up from a 20 year nap.

Look in the mirror please.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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