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Pictured are (front to back, left to right) RQ-11A Raven, Evolution, Dragon Eye, NASA FLIC, Arcturus T-15, Skylark, Tern, RQ-2B Pioneer, and Neptune. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’€™s Mate 2nd Class Daniel J. McLain (RELEASED)

The Pentagon has filled the skies over Afghanistan with high-tech sensors, and the effect has been measurable. From March through May, troops in vehicles found 64% of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) before they blew up, an 11 percentage-point increase over the previous quarter. Troops on foot patrol discovered 81%, a 4 percentage-point increase, according to the Pentagon’s Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO).

The rate of discovery before bombs exploded hovered around 50% for years. The most important measure of progress: IEDs caused less than half of troop deaths for the first time in five years.

Read the rest of Tom Vanden Brook’s report from USA Today.

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