Apples and Oranges

If it takes about 170 personnel today to operate one combat air patrol of MQ-1 or MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft, how many are needed for a single high-flying RQ-4 Global Hawk CAP? Maj. Richard Johnson, Air Force spokesman for intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance issues, tells the Daily Report that the number is around 260 today, including some 160 imagery analysts. Johnson cautions that looking at the manpower needs for MQ-1/9 and RQ-4 CAPs is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Indeed, while all are capable and complementary RPAs, “the scope and scale of the ISR capability they provide is vastly different,” he said. He noted: “The amount of information we can collect from a Global Hawk is tremendous, and it is a manpower intensive process to turn all that data into decision-quality intelligence information.”