To fly the military's baddest, most technologically advanced planes, you once had to have what Tom Wolfe called "that righteous stuff," the willingness to strap yourself to a jet-fuel laden machine and push it to the very limits of its mechanical capabilities. Nowadays, unmanned systems have taken the human danger out of some combat missions, though human pilots remain at the sticks.
But not for long.
All of a sudden it was there, but then like any good stealth aircraft it vanished. Now the “Beast of Kandahar” has resurfaced in new photos, spurring aviation and defense wonks to once again speculate about the function and purpose of such a stealthy-looking unmanned aerial system.