Upping Predator Patrols Early:

The Air Force now plans to increase the number of Predator unmanned aerial vehicle combat air patrols it will provide to US Central Command area of operations a year earlier than envisioned by DOD. The Defense Department expected USAF to expand from 12 daily CAPs to 21 by 2009. The addition of Air National Guard airmen to the Predator operations and data analysis has enabled the service to speed up the timetable. Currently, active duty and ANG airmen fly Predators from locations in California, Nevada, and North Dakota, but a USAF release notes that crews in Arizona will begin flying Predator MQ-1 CAPs next week. The service has increased its training to more quickly put Air Guardsmen in the pilot and sensor operator seats.