Fourty percent of U.S. military aircraft are drones

A report by Randy Nelson, Drones now account for one third of U.S. warplanes, says:

According to a new Congressional report, the country’s military now has 7,494 drone aircraft in use, compared to 10,767 traditional, manned planes.

Since I’m a CPA, I just had to recalculate the percentage:

  • 7,493 / ( 7494 + 10.767 ) = 41.03%

I’ll call that 40%. I’m fine with the author’s 1/3.

For those of us who enjoy reading and learning about military aviation that is an astounding change. Granted, 71% those UAVs, or 29% of the total aircraft count, are tiny:

The Army accounts for most of the drones: 5,346 of the tiny (4 lb) RQ-11 Raven, pictured, to be specific.

Still, think about it – 2 out of 5 military aircraft are drones.

Article on the sidebar of the article at Y!TECH took me to a Rueters article:  Future drone pilots may fly four warplanes at once.

Two different paragraphs explain the need for having pilots run more than one drone:

At the moment, it can take hundreds of support staff on the ground to run a single drone for 24 hours, adding cost and complications at a time when budget-cutters are looking for billions of dollars of program cuts.

Experts say more multitasking is needed because there are simply not enough pilots and technicians to support the rising number of sorties. Long hours and inadequate staffing have pushed the Air Force’s 350-odd drone pilots and their support crews to their limits.

Makes sense to have pilots run more than one drone, especially if they are on recon missions or on the way to or returning from their target area.

Hat tip: Instapundit. If you want to pay attention to the mind-bending changes taking place around us, you ought to visit his site, regularly.

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