networkworld.com notes that the US Air Force will procure more unmanned than manned aircraft next year. The article also links to an older CBS story from Oct 2008 describing duty changes in the pilot corps.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Norman Seip this week said the service is "all in" when it comes to developing unmanned systems and aircraft.
"Next year, the Air Force will procure more unmanned aircraft than manned aircraft," the general said. "I think that makes a very pointed statement about our commitment to the future of [unmanned aircraft] and what it brings to the fight in meeting the requirements of combatant commanders."
Seip said the Air Force currently has 85% of its unmanned air force deployed in Southwest Asia operations and 15% stateside to train pilots and for operational test and development. The Air Force is doing all it can to speed up the UAS pilot training process, he added.
This blog continues to predict that use of unmanned aircraft will surpass even what the Air Force generals describe publicly. UAVs have significant strategic value on the battlefield, where one "pilot" can control a swarm of highly automated drones. See our previous post on this subject for more.