The notorious MQ-1 Predator Drones will finally be given a rest after wrecking havoc for over two decades, and the aptly named MQ-9 Reaper will now take its place to haunt the skies of Asia, Middle East, and Africa.
“When you ask about readiness, you have to ask ready for what?” said Air Force Col. Joseph, the 432nd Operations Group commander. “If we talk about the things we could be ready for and what we should be asking our attack squadrons to do, then transitioning to an all MQ-9 force is imperative for readiness.”
“Right now the plan is to stop flying the MQ-1 in 2018, and that means we need to get transitioned this year,” said Air Force Lt. Col. James, the 20th Attack Squadron commander. “As part of that, we are going to stop flying the MQ-1 completely by July 1, 2017. We will gradually stand up our number of combat lines on the MQ-9, so by the end of the year we are only an MQ-9 squadron.”
The use of drones for remotely spying and attacking the enemies has been termed as “extrajudicial killings” and a “violation of the right to life” by the critics. Many people defend these actions by saying that most of the people killed are extremists and the “collateral damage” is rare, yet, independent estimates claim that civilian deaths from these strikes range from several hundred to over 1,000.
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