“General Atomics, maker of the ubiquitous Predator and Reaper drones, began flying intelligence missions for the Defense Department this month.
The Pentagon may not have plans to allow contractors to fire missiles off drones. But allowing them to feed targeting data to the uniformed trigger-puller takes the world one step closer in that direction.
It’s not unprecedented for the military to hire drone builders to fly them. But the Predator is far more capable, typically flies at 10,000-feet and, of course, has an armed variant.
Officials with General Atomics told Defense One that the company began flying surveillance missions for the Pentagon, although they could not disclose the location or mission details.
Currently, Air Force crews fly 60 Predator and Reaper combat air patrols, where one CAP means keeping one aircraft in the air around the clock. The Pentagon wants to push that towards 90 by 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. With
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