coondoggie writes with a link to a Network World blog post on the world's first unmanned attack squadron. The US is deploying a full squadron of combat drones to Iraq this week. These armed and remotely controlled robots can be manipulated from on the ground in the field, or via satellite from thousands of miles away. "The MQ-9 Reaper is the Air Force's first hunter-killer unmanned aircraft. It is the big brother to the highly successful and sometimes controversial Predator aircraft, which General Atomics said this week had flown over 300,000 flight hours, with over 80% of that time spent in combat. The company said Predator series aircraft have flown an average of 8,200 hours per month over the past six months while maintaining the highest operational readiness rates in the U.S. military aircraft inventory. The MQ-9 Reaper is twice as fast as the Predator - it has a 900-horsepower turbo-prop engine, compared to the 119-horsepower Predator engine - and can carry far more ordnance - 14 Hellfire missiles as opposed to two."
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