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Comment Re:duh (Score 2) 129

Actually, UAV pilots are MUCH cheaper. The Army uses enlisted soldiers to fly its drones. The Air Force used to use "real" pilots, but finally caved and now trains cadets as drone operators without putting them in a plane, ever.

Comment AF recalcitrance responsible for accidents (Score 1) 129

The reality is that drones are much easier to fly than regular aircraft. Flying a drone is a point and click affair; most accidents are caused by people trying to fly it like a conventional aircraft. IMO, the Air Force's insistence on re-purposing fighter pilots as drone pilots is responsible for a great deal of the high accident rate. The Army, in contrast, doesn't use "pilots" to operate their drones and yet enjoy a lower accident rate.

Comment "Not that much cheaper"?? Whatever! (Score 1) 129

The current generation of drones are *much* cheaper than their manned counterparts. When the DoD reports "per unit cost" of drones, most of the time that cost includes multiple aircraft. Per aircraft cost of a Predator B (MQ-9) is ~$10mil. The full reported unit cost of ~$50 million includes *four* aircraft and all the hardware to operate them. Not to mention reduced training, maintenance, and pretty much every other sort of cost. The Air Force hates using drones, and they resisted widespread adoption for so long, but even they couldn't deny the economics of the platform.

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