The United States Air Force now has more jobs available for drone pilots—known in military parlance as “remote-piloted aircraft” (RPA)—than for any other human-flown aircraft. This is according to a recent report on Military.com.
Citing remarks made by Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson at a recent Air Force conference held in Florida on March 3, the Air Force specifically has more jobs for MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones. Gen. Roberson is the head of air education and training command.
“I never thought I’d say that when I joined the Air Force,” he was quoted as saying. “So we’re really in a much better footing with RPA pilot production in addition to just getting the numbers up.”
The military news website also reported that those two families of drones are set to have more than 1,000 operators during this fiscal year, compared to the nearly 900 “piloting the C-17 Globemaster III [military transport] and 803 flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon [jet fighter].”
Late last month, the Air Force announced it would be retiring the MQ-1 Predator drone in 2018 in favor of an all-MQ-9 Reaper fleet. The MQ-1 has been in use since the early 1990s.