Congress is blocking the Air Force from retiring next year any of its most famous drone assassins, and is increasing procurement of a second bomb-dropping and surveillance unmanned aircraft.
The moves, in a joint defense budget by the House and Senate Armed Services committees, can be seen as a rejection of the Pentagon’s limited procurement plans for remotely piloted aircraft, including the storied terrorist-killing Predator and its Hellfire missiles.
“The committee believes that we have a deficit of ISR platforms around the world, one that is only going to grow,” said Claude Chafin, a spokesman for the House committee. ISR refers to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
The committees took action on the fiscal 2015 budget after some lawmakers contended that the U.S.-led coalition is not deploying enough remotely piloted aircraft to battle the Islamic State terrorist army in Iraq and Syria.