Monday, June 06, 2005

Air Force Replaces Reserve Squadrons With Predators

Moving quickly along the path towards a robotic military, the Air Force is replacing a reserve fighter aircraft squadrons in North Dakota with a pair of Predator UAVs. North Dakota will eventually have 12 of the aircraft.

Interestingly, this will actually cause an increase in needed manpower from 35 to 70 pilots since the planes are operated around the clock. A total of 500-600 personnel will be based in Fargo to support the Predators.

The Air National Guard base in North Dakota will also become the second US base for the Global Hawk.

Over the next few years the Air Force plans to deploy 7 more squadrons of 12 Predators each around the country expanding the total number of squadrons to 15. Over the next few years it plans to buy 51 Global Hawks to augment the 5 it currently has.