Drones: America's New Air Force

60 Minutes' Lara Logan Reports On The Increasing Use Of Drones In The Battlefield

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But the most important weapon is the aircraft's million dollar camera. "I don't want them to know that I'm watching their every move. That unseen, unblinking eye is really the effect that I want to give the ground commander. The fact that they don't know that I'm watching them - that's really the magic," Gough said.

The Air Force also has 116 Predators. The Predator is smaller than the Reaper, but it can stay up in the air even longer, 24 hours at a time. It can be miles away from its target, flying undetected through the clouds, while zooming in on an unsuspecting enemy.

We saw that ourselves when the Air Force flew a Predator over our heads, about two miles high in the sky.

From 10,000 feet above, the Predator was able to zoom in and send back a very precise image of Logan and the 60 Minutes team standing on the grounds of Creech Air Force Base. The Predator couldn't be heard or seen by the team, even though they knew the exact whereabouts of the drone.

The Predator's camera even followed the 60 Minutes team as they drove off the base's flight line. It's this ability that makes it difficult for enemy fighters to escape.

Col. Chambliss showed us exactly how these aircraft do that.

In one video declassified for 60 Minutes, a group of insurgents in Iraq had just ambushed a U.S. convoy. They were trying to get away, but the Predator was watching.

"This is a hot gun," he said, pointing on the screen to a moving human figure on the ground, carrying a gun-shaped object that looked white on the screen.

Asked what he meant by "hot gun," Chambliss explained, "Well it's literally, in this scene, white is hot - and that white spot that this guy is carrying is actually a hot gun. So it's been fired - and we already know it's been used. We've met positive identification criteria that these are bad guys, and so now we can go ahead and strikes these targets."

"Do you believe that Predators and Reapers are changing the face of war?" Logan asked.

"When we can take 34 airplanes, and we can have them airborne all the time, and they can look at whatever we need them to look at, that's a huge capability and so because of that, the enemy has to do things differently now. They have to hide more. They don't know when we're looking at 'em. They don't know where we are," Chambliss replied.

The pilots' aerial view of the battlefield often allows them to see the enemy before the soldiers on the ground can. Gough gave 60 Minutes an example of how he once used this advantage to expose a suspected sniper.

"We called down to the convoy and said, 'Hey how about if you start your engines and just move ten meters for me,'" he recalled. "And as soon as they did that this individual reached down and pulled a rifle out."

"We were in short order able to engage that individual successfully," Gough told Logan.

The target was hit with a Hellfire missile.

"What if you get it wrong?" Logan asked.

"We don't," Gough replied.

"Ever?" Logan asked.

"That's a tough question," Gough said after a pause. "Yeah. We have the resources to make sure we're right. In battle, in combat, in the fog and friction of war, there are always gonna be times that your judgment isn't with hindsight, you can see things with more clarity."

"But you're not there in the fog and friction of war. You're sitting here in your cockpit in Nevada," Logan remarked.

"And that's what makes us more powerful and have that clarity, because I'm able to distance myself from the fight and use resources that are otherwise unattainable to the combatants," Gough replied.