Unmanned aircraft crashes point to problem

WASHINGTON, April 29 (UPI) -- There have been two mid-air collisions of unmanned military and piloted planes in Iraq, a top Air Force official says and more coordination is needed.

There are some 750 unmanned aerial vehicles used for surveillance crowding the skies over Iraq, said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper, in a speech released Friday. They are often used without coordination and sometimes the signals used to control them jam each other.


The vehicles are some of the most coveted tools for surveillance in Iraq, where there are not sufficient numbers of troops to keep eyes on all the roads and neighborhoods.

"There are UAVs over there that we have that are flying around, we've already had two mid-air collisions between UAVs and other airplanes, we have got to get our arms around this thing," Jumper said in the speech made to the Heritage Foundation Thursday in Washington, D.C.

He called for greater coordination of their use and the frequencies that they use, and said the Air Force is the service best equipped to take the lead. The Air Force wants to build a UAV "Center of Excellence" at its ranges in Nevada -- at Nellis Air Force Base and Indian Springs -- for experimentation and exercises with the other services.


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