In line with the US Air Force’s plans to build more unmanned fighters and fewer F-35s, it will train more unmanned airplane operators than fighter or bomber pilots.

According to the USAF’s ‘unmanned system update’ it plans to develop unmanned aerial vehicles that will serve as fighters, bombers and tankers. The manned aircraft will participate in sync with the drones.

The air force will train 240 pilots to fly Predator and Reaper drones alongside 214 fighter and bomber pilots for this budget year.

The current emphasis on drones reflects the US need for consistent surveillance in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The drones will provide 24/7 surveillance and data support to ground forces.