Reapers + Predators = 50

The Air Force is on track to have 31 simultaneous combat air patrols of MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicles available in December to combatant commanders in Southwest Asia, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Peterson, USAF’s chief of warfighting integration and chief information officer since November 2005, told The Hill newspaper in an interview last week. “Our stated objective,” he said, “is to have 50 orbits available.” To reach that number, the Air Force plans to add in MQ-9 Reaper CAPS, he noted, since they “can carry more payload for [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance].”