This is a photo of the Global Hawk UAV
that recently returned from the war zone under its own power.
( Iraq to Edward’s AFB in CA) – Not transported via C5 or C17.
It’s actually over 250 missions.
(And I would suppose 25 air medals.) That’s a long way for a remotely piloted aircraft.
Think of the technology as well as the required quality of the data link
to fly it remotely from a source thousands of miles away. Not only that, but the pilot controls it from a nice warm control panel
at Edwards AFB, CA. It can stay up for almost 2 days at altitudes above 60k. The Global Hawk is controlled via satellite.
It flew missions that went from Edwards AFB, CA. and back nonstop. Basically, they come into the fight at a high mach # using military thrust power, fire their AMRAAMS, and no one ever sees them or paints with radar.
There is practically no radio chatter because all the guys in the flight are tied together electronically and can see who is targeting who, and they have AWACS
(Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems) direct input, as well as 360 situational awareness from that and other sensors. The enemy had a definite morale problem before it was all over. It is to air superiority what the jet engine was to aviation. It can taxi out, take off, fly a mission, return, land and taxi back on its own. There are no blackouts, pilot fatigue, relief tubes, ejection seats,
and best of all, no dead pilots, and no POWs.