From an editorial in Air Force Magazine:
Within 10 years, one-third of US ... deep strike aircraft will be unmanned,” said Congress’ 2001 defense bill. This claim, while shocking at the time, seems much less so in retrospect.
Indeed, unmanned aerial vehicles, in general, have advanced further and faster than had once seemed possible. Previously, the services had only a handful of UAVs; today, they operate upwards of 1,000 remotely piloted aircraft and are clamoring for more, given that many of these systems have proved their operational worth in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The article goes on to discuss problems supposedly due to lack of coordination of UAV development and operation between branches of the military, including crashes.
With so many aircraft over the battlespace, the skies are crowded, and some pilots are unhappy about sharing airspace with the drones. They have cause; there have been at least two collisions and several near misses.
An AP report claims that a crashed UAV may have been indirectly responsible for the death of a Pakistani soldier: “...officials said that the crash of the reconnaissance drone may have sown confusion which led to the skirmish.”Posted by jjwiseman at July 01, 2005 05:32 PM