Waging war by remote control

October 18, 2001 | Source: Washington Post

The United States is for the first time flying armed, unmanned aircraft into combat and controlling them with operators in the United States via satellite.The use of the armed RQ-1 Predator drone planes is a revolutionary step in the conduct of warfare because they signal that the Air Force is now able to survey and then shoot at ground positions from lower altitudes without putting pilots at risk.

The armed drones also give the military enormous reach and flexibility, creating the real possibility that the United States could someday fly combat missions without having to put large numbers of military personnel on nearby land bases or aircraft carriers.