Wednesday, March 3, 2010

As drones multiply in Iraq and Afghanistan, so do their uses

The Air Force will expand the number of unmanned drone aircraft flying over the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq in the next three years, as a result of commanders' demand for digital images useful in hunting down enemy forces.By 2011, the Air Force will be flying as many as 50 drones, or combat air patrols in the war zones, and by 2013 that number will jump to 65, say Air Force officials. Currently there are 40.The appetite for drone aircraft stems not only from the planes' ability to conduct airstrikes on terrorist targets and provide surveillance imagery for intelligence experts to hunt insurgents or those who plant roadside bombs, but also from unexpected uses. Drone aircraft, also known as “unmanned aerial vehicles,” are popular among commanders who want to know more about a specific area in Afghanistan or Iraq in which they are operating. By capturing images, the drones help soldiers determine how many houses there have power, for example, or where roads are, and other “quality of life” data...................................................Read More


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