View Full Version : Air Force to purchase more UAV's then manned aircraft in 2010

08-18-2009, 09:28 PM
It’s a friendly takeover that will take 40 years to complete.
The transformation is well underway now. Already in the air are Reapers, Predators, Wasps and Ravens. They’ll be joined by scores more next year when the Air Force — for the first time — buys more UAVs than manned aircraft.
By 2047, unmanned aerial vehicles could be used for every mission except nuclear bombings and personnel transport.
“One thing we want to make sure is that we consider UAS as alternatives to traditionally manned aircraft in all competitions,” said Col. Eric Mathewson, who played a key role in a UAV road map, Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight Plan 2009-2047, that the Air Force released July 23. “They are not going to fit in every mission. They are not the best fit, but potentially they could be.” The Air Force has already started work on the UAV that will replace MQ-9 Reaper, its most advanced UAV.
The MQ-X is just the beginning, though. After it will come a medium-sized UAV capable of attacking enemy air defenses, refueling in midair, flying wounded troops off the battlefield, picking up downed pilots behind enemy lines and shooting down other aircraft.
For bigger UAVs, the Air Force has even bigger plans.
By 2020, large UAVs — or MQLs — could replace the Air Force’s nerve centers flying near the battlefield — the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System and the Airborne Warning and Control System.
Besides replacing the nerve centers, these monster look-alikes will be able to carry pallets and fuel tanks and even fly strategic bombing missions. The speed they’ll travel once they’re fully developed — in about 20 years — could be hypersonic, Mach 5, five times the speed of sound.
All will be modular aircraft, able to perform a host of missions depending on what payload is installed.
“We’re thinking about multimission in the large sense, where the aircraft could be a bomber one day, a tanker the next day, a cargo plane the next day, an intelligence resource the next day or maybe all of the above,” Mathewson said.
More miniatures are also in the works. Swarms of UAVs no bigger than honeybees will join the Air Force’s Raven and Wasp, both of which fit on the back of an airman and can be launched by hand. The micro-minis will fly reconnaissance missions inside buildings, attack enemy computers and act as decoys so manned aircraft can safely fly into contested airspace.

08-18-2009, 10:24 PM
Proceed with due care. It's grand to continue with technology, but the falts and consequences do need to be considered in some elements. It seemed one has already been considered thankfully, nuclear weapons.

08-18-2009, 11:07 PM
One of my chief concerns of a growing dependency on drone vehicles, aside from tactical issues regarding command and control of the drones that I've already broached here, is that we will end up cheapening the value of war. War is of course an extension of Politics, and Politics is the imposition of one's will upon others. Ideas of 'bloodless' (for our side) war will only encourage our leadership to pursue it to the exclusion of more civil means of persuasion.

I fear the reality will be that we will launch into more conflicts - low intensity 'brushfire wars' that these may be - under the illusion of easy, low cost victory, only to have to relearn the old lessons that drones can't take prisoners, interact with the non-combatant locals in a politically useful manner, or hold ground effectively. That we will have stepped boot first into an ever increasing number of piles of shit that will require us to take a more human level of action, to lose men to death and maiming, to escalate in a way that the politicians did not foresee, when had they been forced to consider the option of a bloodier less sanitary war, they may have avoided the pile of shit altogether.

1. We should engage in war only when other options will result in unacceptable outcomes.

2. We should also wage war in the most brutally efficient manner possible - they die and we live.

Drones make #1 unlikely (we will be encouraged to impose our will using war rather that see it as the last resort), but only offer the illusion of achieving #2. Waging war with no real skin in the game (drones and nothing but drones) makes these two statements difficult to reconcile.

tl;dr version - War is cruelty and you cannot refine it.