From Raven to Coyote: How Many Military Drones Does the US Have?

© AFP 2023 / JUNG YEON-JEA US Air Force Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. File photo
A US Air Force Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. File photo  - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.03.2023
Apart from surveillance missions, US drones are currently involved in implementing other tasks, including the destruction of enemy air defenses, as well as combat search and rescue.
Moscow expects Washington to stop flights near Russia's borders, Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s Ambassador to the US, stated after an American drone crash incident took place over the Black Sea.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the MQ-9 drone fell in the Black Sea as a result of engaging in sharp maneuvering and the Russian fighter jets sent to intercept the US unmanned aerial vehicle did not come into contact with it, nor did they used= weapons against the drone. Now the question arises what the US drone did in the Black Sea and more generally, why are the UAVs being used by the US army? Sputnik explores.

How Many Drones Does the US Military Have?

The US military operates a large number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which are also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
According to the US Department of Defense (DoD) estimates, the Pentagon “currently operates more than 11,000 UAS in support of domestic training events and overseas contingency missions.”

What Drones Are Used by the Pentagon?

With the DoD remaining tight-lipped on modifications, a US media outlet reported that the US army’s drone fleet comprises at least 14 main UAVs, including
Northrop Grumman X-47A
MQ-25 Stingray
MQ-20 Avenger
MQ-9 Reaper
MQ-1 Predator
MQ-8 Fire Scout
MQ-4C Triton
RQ-4 Global Hawk
RQ-11B Raven
RQ-12 Wasp
RQ-20 Puma
RQ-21 Blackjack
RQ-170 Sentinel
Also in service are such drones as Maveric, Stalker, ScanEagle, Switchblade, Coyote, and Phoenix Ghost.

What is the Largest US Military Drone?

The RQ-4 Global Hawk is believed to be the US military's biggest unmanned aerial vehicle. The drone has a length of 47.6 feet (about 15 meters), a wingspan of just over 130 feet (39 meters), and a total weight of more than six tons.
CC0 / / RQ-4 Global Hawk
 RQ-4 Global Hawk - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.03.2023
RQ-4 Global Hawk
The UAV, which made its maiden flight in February 1998, conducted an array of surveillance missions across the world, including the Ukraine flyover ahead of Russia’s special military there.

What About the US Army's Most Advanced UAV?

Many believe that the MQ-25 Stingray is the US army’s most sophisticated drone, which first flew on September 19, 2019.
The drone, which is powered by a Rolls-Royce turbofan engine, features a stealthy fuselage shaping.

When Did the US Use Military Drones for First Time?

The first use of US armed UAVs dates back to 2001, when an MQ-1 Predator was used to carry anti-tank missiles into Afghanistan, a mission that was controlled by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Until 2006, US drones’ flight hours were not logged, though the DoD now claims that the UAVs have already flown millions of hours.

What Are US Drones' Current Missions?

Apart from intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions, the US drones are currently capable of implementing other tasks, according to the Pentagon. These include electronic attacks, drone strikes, suppression or destruction of enemy air defenses, as well as combat search and rescue.
An MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.03.2023
What is the US Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper Drone at Center of Black Sea Incident?
Both the US military and the CIA also use drones as part of conventional fighting in war zones. They use the UAVs to conduct targeted killings of individuals who they say are suspected of terrorism.

An American non-profit reported in this regard that the drone program “helps keep the US in a constant state of endless war, which in the last 20 years has resulted in the deaths of over 929,000 people, including more than 363,939 civilians, at a cost of at least $8 trillion.”

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала