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    US Hiring Contractors for Drone Missions Abroad

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    US Air Force Chief Deborah Lee James said that the United States will be hiring contractors to fly unmanned surveillance missions to meet the high demand for drone operators.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States will be hiring contractors to fly unmanned surveillance missions to meet the high demand for drone operators, US Air Force Chief Deborah Lee James said at the National Press Club on Wednesday.

    “We are going to be using contractors more in the world of RPA [remotely piloted aircraft] for non-kinetic missions, so not strike missions, but for the surveillance missions,” James said.

    The demand for US intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance increased with the fight against the Islamic State, or Daesh, and longstanding commitments to US partners around the globe, James explained.

    The force of unmanned air operators is “under stress,” James said, saying hiring contractors will “alleviate some of these strains.”

    The Air Force reports that US drone operators work between 13-14 hours a day, accruing more than three times the flight hours as manned aircraft operators.

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