UAVs are Kings of the Skies
What more proof do we need of this? Air Force News reveals:
The Defense Department has nearly 2,000 “small” unmanned aerial systems deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, Defense officials reported. Most of those are Ravens, which Air Force officials use to support Army and Marine Corps ground forces.
In April, Secretary Gates cited unmanned aircraft systems as an increasing part of the Air Force arsenal, as he recommended that Congress halt production of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet and devote more funding to unmanned systems. The secretary compared the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the Reaper unmanned system, noting that the Reaper has a range of about 3,000 miles and can carry 1.5 tons of weapons — all unmanned and remotely — while the manned F-16 fighter has a range of about 500 miles.
This fiscal year, Air Force officials have spent more money on unmanned aircraft systems and trained more operators than fighter jets and fighter pilots, General Hansen said. Demand for unmanned systems by the U.S. military has increased more than 660 percent since 2004, he added.
The F-22 Raptor may dominate air-to-air warfare, but this ability seems to pale in comparison to the usefulness of unmanned air vehicles. America invests so much in over-kill weapons like these stealth fighters, she has little left for other important roles, but the drones are returning to us the advantage. Versatility in the force is greater than budget-draining niche weapons, however capable.