The Pentagon Capers

Doomed Air Force Drone Was Just Following Orders

To keep warplanes flying right, Air Force pilots argue that there has to be a "man in the loop"--a person in the cockpit. A recently completed investigation into a crash of the Pentagon's most sophisticated unmanned aircraft may reinforce their bias.

The GLOBAL HAWK, which is under development, is a $45 million drone with a 116-ft. wingspan that can fly for more than a day, scouring terrain and relaying video to a ground station 3,000 miles away. Last March a Hawk on a simulated mission surprised its manned F-16 chase plane by rolling onto its back at 400 m.p.h., diving and...

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