Navy unveils squadron of manned, unmanned craft

CORONADO, Calif. (AP) — The Navy is inaugurating its first squadron with both manned and unmanned aircraft.

Military officials will launch the maritime strike squadron called “Magicians” on Thursday at the Naval Air Station North Island on Coronado, near San Diego.

The squadron will have eight manned helicopters and a still-to-be-determined number of the Fire Scout MQ-8 B, an unmanned helicopter that can track targets.

Lt. Aaron Kakiel says the squadron will be aboard the Navy’s new littoral combat ship in about a year.

He says most Navy drones now are operated by contractors overseen by military personnel.

The squadron’s creation comes 100 years after the formation of the first Navy air detachment.

The Air Force has various drone squadrons.

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