This is a photo of the Global Hawk UAV that returned from the war zone recently under its own power. ( Iraq to Edwards AFB in CA) - Not transported via C5 or C17.....
Notice the mission paintings on the fuselage.
It's actually over 250 missions.... (And I would suppose 25 air medals).
That's a long way for a remotely-piloted aircraft.
Think of the technology (and the required quality of the data link to fly it remotely).
Not only that but the pilot controlled it from a nice warm control panel at Edwards AFB.
Really long legs- can stay up for almost 2 days at altitudes above 60k.
The Global Hawk was controlled via satellite; it flew missions during OT&E that went from Edwards AFB to upper Alaska and back non-stop.
Basically, they come into the fight at a high mach # in mil thrust, fire their AMRAAMS, and no one ever sees them or paints with radar. There is practically no radio chatter because all the guys in the flight are tied together electronically, and can see who is targeting who, and they have AWACS direct input and 360 situational awareness from that and other sensors.
The aggressors had a morale problem before it was all over. It is to air superiority what the jet engine was to aviation.
It can taxi, take off, fly a mission, return, land and taxi on it's own. No blackouts, no fatigue, no relief tubes, no ejection seats, and best of all, no dead pilots, no POWs?
Hat tip to Mike L!