Are Unmanned Airplanes the U.S. Air Force’s Salvation?

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force is in trouble. The rising cost of high-tech jets and the people to fly and maintain them threatens to put the service “out of business,” in the words of Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne. He said last fall that he was worried the military couldn’t buy enough planes, fast enough, to replace 30-year-old F-15s and 50-year-old tankers before they started falling out of the sky. Wynne’s statement proved eerily prescient: In November an Air Guard F-15 manufactured in 1980 disintegrated in mid-air, nearly killing the pilot and resulting in a prolonged grounding for most […]

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