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The Future For UAVs in the U.S. Air Force
Popular Mechanics ^ | 3/1/2010 | Joe Pappalardo

Posted on 03/04/2010 12:24:17 AM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld

When the Air Force recently mapped out a game plan to 2047, its report contained a big surprise: Fewer pilots and more robotic planes acting on their own. Will the airman-centric service accept a future with fewer cockpits? And are we ready for UAVs that can fire their weapons without human permission.Like its waterfowl namesake, the Heron unmanned aerial vehicle has the excellent vision of a hunter. Today, the 27-foot-long Israeli UAV is making a rare flight over the United States, using a high-definition video camera to track a speedboat buzzing across the Patuxent River in Maryland. The camera shares space with an infrared thermal imager and laser rangefinder inside a 17-inch sphere mounted under the aircraft’s nose. The camera and the UAV both turn automatically to track the boat below, no satellite-linked joysticks required. On the Patuxent, a Coast Guard crew in a shallow-water patrol boat uses a real-time video feed from the Heron to locate the speedboat.

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TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: aerospace; robots; uav; usaf

1 posted on 03/04/2010 12:24:17 AM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
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To: sonofstrangelove

Couple of things.
Our country will not accept deaths in our military.
The drag on airplanes is mostly due to putiing a person in the thing. Make them pilotless and they can be made faster, cheaper etc.
And some game boy pro can sit half a world away safely.
Do i like it? As a pilot, NO.

2 posted on 03/04/2010 4:21:31 AM PST by Joe Boucher (Just say NO to RINOs.)
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To: Joe Boucher
I agree. The role of UAVs is increasing. However, we don't even trust pilots to shoot without getting clearance. It would be nuts to allow a UAV to do it. Sun Tzu said war is deception. As soon as the enemy figured out the criteria used for the UAV's targeting logic, they would exploit it. The Taliban have already figured out how to exploit weaknesses in the Predator's video relay system, and they're not really known for their technical skills.

Right now the UAVs are good for Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and surface attack missions. I think it will be awhile before they're capable of Close Air support and Air to Air missions.

3 posted on 03/04/2010 5:35:36 AM PST by mbynack (Retired USAF SMSgt)
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To: mbynack

Couldn’t agree more.
But as you in the a.F. know this technology has come a heck of a long way in a very short time.
Course I could see our UAV’s armed and hacked to attack our own.
Wouldn’t put anything beynond the chi-coms.

4 posted on 03/04/2010 5:53:37 AM PST by Joe Boucher (Just say NO to RINOs.)
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