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Hunter Killer: Inside America's Unmanned Air War Hardcover – October 13, 2015

4.1 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Hunter Killer

“A veteran’s gritty, engrossing account of America’s RPA service in today’s far-flung conflicts.”-Library Journal (starred review)


“An Air Force veteran tells an exciting tale of tracking terrorist leaders by remote piloted aircraft, the future of military aviation… An illuminating tale of a pilot on the cutting edge.” –Kirkus

About the Author

LT . COL. T. MARK McCURLEY is a retired Air Force pilot and former intelligence operator. In 2003, he volunteered for the secretive Predator program, deploying five times to Iraq,Afghanistan, and other locations, where he has flown the MQ-1 Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper, accruing more than one thousand combat hours in flight.

KEVIN MAURER is an award-winning journalist and the bestselling coauthor, with Mark Owen, of No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden. He has covered special operations forces for a decade.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton; 1St Edition edition (October 13, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525954430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525954439
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I struggled with what to write regarding this review. I have a unique perspective from most readers. I was an early leader in the Predator UAS program. I find Mark's book is an easy read, however buyer beware…you need to realize it is strictly a memoir. Amazon does a disservice to Mark by describing it as something it isn’t.

The book does an ok job explaining his limited experiences in the program. Yes, they were limited because it presents a single perspective, from a small portion, of what has been the fastest growing aerospace program that the USAF has seen in decades.

The book is NOT the first ever look inside the program. It is not a historical perspective about how or why decisions were made across all levels of the program. Nor is it a well-researched description of the technology, its breakthroughs and their impact.

If you want a true 360 exploration of the origins of the Predator program, insight into some of the key members involved and a skillfully researched look at the decisions made; take the time to read Richard Whittles book Predator- The secret origins of the drone revolution. Full disclosure, I was interviewed for that book because of my role in the development of the program.

Don’t’ shy away from Mark’s memoir but buy it with your eyes wide open understanding they type of book it really is.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is not a great book. It's a good enough book if you are interested in the subject - just don't expect a compelling read. The author is a military aviation guy. They are a little … rigid. This leads to a fair amount of the book dragging us through the quagmire of rules, processes, procedures and checklists associated with military aviation with an occasional excursion into discussion of specific missions.

The last 5-10 pages of the book finally get into the meat of the matter. Remote operated vehicles are one of a class of new technologies that is going to change the face of conflict in a fundamental way. The military is struggling culturally and programmatically with how to incorporate this new class of technology into their toolkit. And he was there for the catalytic last decade. That's the story I wanted to hear.

Worth a read. You'll be hungry for something with more meat when you're done.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There have been many books written on the rise of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, but few have offered the operators perspective. T. Mark McCurley was involved from the beginning of the USAF's adoption of UAVs, helped develop their expanding roles and capabilities in combat, and concluded with the tour as a commander for a front-line UAV squadron. His story is the first book I've read that truly captures the heart, spirit, challenges and perspective of UAV operators that have been at a full sprint since the War on Terror started. McCurley was directly involved in some of the most high profile UAV operations and strikes, and played a critical role in the transition of UAVs from the intelligence to the hunter killer mission. I highly recommend this book for anyone that wants the ground truth on UAVs past operations and in the current fight.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The inside of the MQ-1 and MQ-9 workings are verified interesting. I never thought of their pilots in this way before, I now have as much repeat for them as I do for any other combat pilot. The pressures are so intense to do your job right from the maintainers to the take off & landing pilots to the actual combat flying pilots. I never knew how much teamwork there was to keep these technologies flying. Kudos to ALL their accomplishments.
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Format: Hardcover
Description of Lt. McCurley's eight year career flying Predators. The book is really a series of vignettes about various assignments in the remote piloted aircraft. Found the book surprisingly engaging. .

Particularly interesting were the views on the importance and future of these aircraft. It was pointed out that these aircraft are all piloted, the pilots are just on the ground not in the aircraft.

There was quite a lot on how operations are carried out. There are generally two crews. One is deployed and is responsible for take offs and landings. The other is US based and is responsible for the active mission. Although this struck me as strange; it actually makes sense. It is cheaper to have crews in the US than deployed.

All in all a worthwhile read.
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By Elaine Holmes on January 27, 2016
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had read Lone Survivor by Marcus Latrell, and in reading Hunter Killer found out one of the drones talked about was the drone that picked up Marcus' signal in the window of his hut where he was waiting for his buddies to come and find him. I saw a little on TV how it was the Marine Rangers that came to his rescue, and he joked about how he'd never live down being saved by the Rangers. Marcus was a Seal. Nice.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a personal account of Lt. Col. McCurley's experiences with the Predator program as it evolved from a surveillance platform to an integral part of anti-terrorist operations in support of "boots on the ground" and even anti-pirate missions. I found his technical descriptions very interesting, but (confession) my first career was as an aerospace engineer, so I really love that stuff. I also appreciated the lessons in leadership LTC McCurley describes - that was an unexpected bonus. If one is looking for a comprehensive account of how the USAF came to adopt the Predator and its cousins as highly capable and indeed essential weapons, this book only whets the appetite. But it is a good place to start.
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