Skip to comments.Air Force F-35s, Drones May Square Off in Budget Battle
Posted on 02/23/2012 4:38:32 PM PST by U-238
Unmanned aerial vehicles have become a potent portion of the U.S. Air Force inventory and an indispensable weapon in the global war on terror.
But a budget crunch and turf wars with old-guard pilots could threaten progress made during 10 years of combat, experts said.
Theres not going to be a way of putting this genie back in the bottle, retired Navy Vice Adm. Joseph W. Dyer told National Defense. The world has changed. That doesnt mean advocates of todays manned aircraft wont try to put it back in the bottle. But it aint going.
The Defense Department is aiming for greater integration of all unmanned systems, to include aerial vehicles, submersibles and ground robots, according to the Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap, a Defense Department report detailing the use of UAVs through fiscal 2036.
For the Air Force, the biggest challenge is figuring out how UAV procurement relates to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, said Peter Singer, senior fellow for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution and director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative. The Air Forces desired procurement numbers have not changed for the troubled next-generation fighter while program costs have ballooned. At some point, Air Force buyers will have to make a decision on which platforms to buy and how many.
In a Jan. 5 press conference outlining the Obama administrations new defense strategy, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other officials were tightlipped about potential cuts to the F-35 program. They deferred all questions about the costly aircraft until the fiscal year 2013 budget proposal is released in February.
However, they were less reticent about areas where the department would increase investment. Unmanned systems and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies were on their list of items that may see funding boosts rather than cuts.
(Excerpt) Read more at nationaldefensemagazine.org ...
The 25 most expensive Defense Department programs of record share one thing in common none of them are unmanned.
We are back to WWI where the sergeants fly the planes.
You're so smart!
I do not think that its totally gone.
Why not fuse the two. The experience of a pilot and the computing power of a machine.