RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force chief of staff has called for an expansion of unmanned aerial vehicle capabilities to support future ground operations.
Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff, said recently that unmanned aircraft system platforms are a critical component for intelligence gathering and surveillance. Additionally Schwartz called UAS operations increasingly important for supporting ground operations, the Air Force reported.
"We've got eyes 24/7 on bad guys," Schwartz said in a statement.
"We're at the point now where (ground forces) say, 'I'm not going in that door or turning that corner if I don't have my top cover.' That is the reality. That's how important what we're doing has become, and I think this is going to continue."
Schwartz acknowledged that there will always be a need for manned aircraft operations but said that the evolving capabilities and responsibilities of UAS operators will only increase.