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How Robot Drones Revolutionized the Face of Warfare


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Predator drone

Remote-controlled drones, such as the Predator, are proving increasingly popular with the U.S. military.

Credit: Department of Homeland Security

Today's warriors are fighting without getting in harm's way, with drones dramatically tilting the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan in favor of the United States — but leaving civilians vulnerable to death.

U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Major Morgan Andrews is one such combatant. He fights not from the seat of the F16 he joined the air force to fly but from a darkened ground control station in Creech, a tiny desert air force base in Nevada. He pilots a remote-controlled Predator, a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) which can spy on and attack positions and personnel on the other side of the world without risk to its controller, shooting deadly Hellfire missiles at enemy fighters in support of fellow soldiers.

"You're talking to them on the radios as if we were in a normal airplane flying overhead," says Andrews. "You see the imagery, you know what's going on, you see what you're looking at." Meanwhile, intelligence analysts get to see images in real time and can identify personnel on the ground.

The U.S. now deploys more than 7,000 UAVs, and credits them with killing more than half al Qaeda's top 20 leaders. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wants more UAVs.

View a video of how drones are revolutionizing warfare.  

From CNN
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