US Air Force to double number of drone squadrons

WASHINGTON: The US Air Force says it plans to more than double the number of squadrons that fly drones, and will spread them out in more locations across the US and overseas.

The decision would add about 3,000 personnel, including at least 700 more pilots, 700 sensor operators, and other maintenance and crew. There are currently eight squadrons.

Gen. Herbert Carlisle, head of US Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, says adding squadrons to potential sites such as Langley and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona could help connect drone operations with intelligence-gathering units.

He says the Air Force will work with the Pentagon and Congress to get the needed funding.

Pentagon officials have repeatedly said they need more unmanned aircraft for intelligence gathering and attack missions.

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