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What is the difference between Has he come? and Did he come?

Is the headline of the linked article correct?

  • For those confused (as I was) by the headline, "Combat Sent" is the name of the aircraft -- it's an RC-135U 'Combat Sent' signal intelligence aircraft. So the question is whether the headline Has an [A] "covered" the two [B] visiting Estonia? is grammatically correct. – StoneyB Apr 27 '17 at 16:43
  • Has he come suggests that he is still here. Did he come suggests that he might already have been and left. – Ronald Sole Apr 27 '17 at 16:45
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This is simply the question form of sentence that use the perfect tense:

He went to Morocco.
Did he go to Morocco?

vs.

He has been to Morocco
Has he been to Morocco?

In the same way:

(This) aircraft has covered (those) aircraft.
Has (this) aircraft covered (those) aircraft?

The present perfect form indicates "life experience", although in this case it's not referring to any specific person's life but rather the general existence of some experience/event. The meaning is to suggest some experience did happen.

As you expect, it would have been more straightforward to simply ask, "Did aircraft A cover aircraft B & C?" but "has" still gets the meaning across.

Side note: Here "covered" means "to provide support in the form of 'radar coverage'", although in this case it seems perhaps the "spy" aircraft were used to deter the Russians from using their own radar to track the stealth fighters? Something like that. The language is full of military jargon and is slightly confusing.

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