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US buys most expensive drones ever

Published time: August 03, 2011 16:56
Edited time: August 03, 2011 21:23
United States Air Force Global Hawk un-manned reconnaissance aircraft. (Photo from http://www.af.mil)

United States Air Force Global Hawk un-manned reconnaissance aircraft. (Photo from http://www.af.mil)

With $14 trillion in the hole and a slew of wars seemingly no one wants America to be in, what better way for the United States to spend their money by putting $23 billion into spy planes?

The US will drop billions on defense spending with the purchasing of 55 Global Hawk drone planes over the next few years. Each of the four dozen-plus spy crafts comes at a price tag of $218 million apiece — ten times the price of the largest armed attack drone.

Global Hawk drones are capable of flying twice as high as commercial aircrafts and can spot insurgents up to 100 miles away. Once identified, the robotic crafts that are controlled from 24-hour command stations can then send images to intelligence centers or directly to troops.

The Global Hawk drones will replace the U-2 spy planes that the States currently deploys, which the US has relied on since the dawn of the Cold War. Sending unmanned aircrafts into warzones, while grossly expensive, comes as an attempt to limit fatalities by avoiding putting extra troops into danger. Though relying on on-board navigation, those U-2 flyers have proved effective over the last half-century, recently assisting in operations in Afghanistan

A team of 50 engineers will slave over the construction of the Global Hawk drones in a Palmdale, California warehouse.

The US Air Force will invest $12 billion towards the initiative, with the Navy offering almost as much to have their own versions of the Global Hawks.

And, in case you didn’t hear, lawmakers just spent months trying to figure out how to keep the country from defaulting. The town of Central Falls, Rhode Island (the entire town) is currently in bankruptcy court, and the most populous county in Alabama is expected to join them in the coming weeks.

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