Some Staggering Data

For those of us wondering about the importance of overhead intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities to the ongoing fight, here are some illuminating numbers told to the Daily Report by Air Combat Command. Airborne ISR sensors monitored 60 targets in calendar year 2001 for change detection—to observe deviations over time that might indicate threat developments, such as variations in roadside pavement that might warn of the recent planting of a roadside bomb. In 2007, that number grew to 70,542, a whopping increase of 117,470 percent, according to ACC spokesman Maj. Tom Crosson. RQ/MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicles logged 4,380 hours in the air in 2001, providing overhead streaming video to support ground forces. In 2007, that number rose to 63,186 hours, he said. Further, E-8C Joint STARS tracked 12,000 moving targets in 2007; they tracked none in 2001. RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs collected imagery intelligence on 3,687 targets in 2001, and 96,349 six years later, he said. U-2 manned surveillance aircraft collected Imint on 26,749 preplanned targets of interest in 2001, compared to 52,000 in 2007. Finally, in 2001, RC-135 Rivet Joints flew 3,360 hours; six years later, the hours increased to 8,184.