Skip to comments.No Pilot, No Problem: The future of military aviation is unmanned. The sooner it comes, the better.
Posted on 04/18/2012 11:35:33 PM PDT by neverdem
With no fanfare and little media notice, an extremely famous American will turn 60 years old this Sunday.
It was on Tax Day in 1952 that the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, hulking symbol of the Cold War, accident-prone target of the unkind acronym "B.U.F.F.," the bomber several generations believed would usher in the death of humanity, made its first flight.
Some interesting points about the B-52:
It was considered old-fashioned even before its operational life began. In the late 1940s the Air Force almost shut down the planes development out of concerns that it would be obsolete by the time it entered service.
It comes honestly by its status as a cultural icon. That first flight was made by storied test pilot Alvin M. "Tex" Johnston, who is widely believed to have been the model for Major T.J. "King" Kong, the colorful B-52 pilot played by Slim Pickens in the Stanley Kubrick movie Dr. Strangelove. Over the years the B-52 has lent its name to a cocktail, several motion pictures, countless nightclubs around the world, and a great dance band whose flamboyantly gay stylings now seem as quaint and dated as the bomber itself.
Though it has a reputation as a nuclear-age terror weapon, it has never delivered nuclear ordnance. To this day, the only plane that has dropped atomic bombs in anger is the B-52s propeller-driven predecessor B-29 Superfortress.
Despite all the above, the B-52 is expected to remain in service until 2045. It performed shooting-war service this century over Afghanistan and Iraq. It will almost certainly outlast flashier successors like the Rockwell B-1 and the Northrop Grumman B-2. Given the vagaries of budget and the challenges of fully retiring any legacy system, its not impossible that the unloved B.U.F.F. could end up spending a full...
(Excerpt) Read more at reason.com ...
Star Trek: A Taste of Armageddon
...war is essentially a war game, where each planet attacks the other in a computer simulation with the tabulated victims voluntarily surrendering themselves for execution after the fact.
Love that idea.
Get in the passenger side each morning, and my car drives me to work.
Nap, read, work on the computer.
Just like the bus - but no wino's, no racial hatred, and no crazy people.
I never associated the band The B52s with fags. Queen, yes.
Close, but the only way war ever ends is by breaking the will of the enemy. That’s how we lost Vietnam despite massive military success: the American will faltered, largely due to Walter Cronkite and the LSM. (Yes, they have been that treasonous that long.)
Automated war machines can give us an even bigger edge, but without the will, we’re lost...
There. You don't mind my shortening it a little bit for clarity, do you?
We slaughtered a million Communist cadre on the battlefields of Vietnam, who never saw another country in consequence.
Yeah, yeah. People are always criticizing the B-52, saying it’s outdated, I’ve got a better idea, my plane is faster and smarter than your plane.
But somehow or other, the B-52 has done the job, while most of the intended replacements proved to be little more than money-gobblers.
so I guess all of our future airline pilots are going to come out of shady sounding tech schools which advertise on UHF television during the day...
Most computer forecasters predicted it would be used for 1984 type purposes. Some of it has, but the ability to unshackle information flow from the MSM has been one of the greatest promoters of individual freedom of our time.
Autonomous cars - no drivers license - tremendous increase in productivity - enormous opportunities.
Don’t forget our drone that was brought down intact over Iran. Imagine some hostile country capturing a drone bomber.
I give up....
Can someone tell me the meaning of B.U.F.F.?
I used to have similar thoughts about automated cars. Then I spent 24 hours in 15 days driving to and from Alamogordo NM because of a dieing father-in-law. All of a sudden I saw automated cars very differently. There’s a lot of potential to gain freedom with them, certainly it would ease transportation. I’d be fine losing the 10MPH or so I usually exceed the speed limit by to not have to put up with the overall boredom, part of the speeding is to try to get the trip done before the brain flatlines. Is there potential for abuse by the government? Of course, just like with everything else in the world. Does that mean it’s necessarily a bad idea? No.
Or some similar word ...
I drive ~ 1hr each way for work.
If I'm driving, I'm free to think about whatever ... which may or may not be work related.
Last thing I want is an automated car that becomes an extension of my office.
Besides that ... driving is fun.
Until the other side hacks the drones.
There is no computer system that is uncrackable. We have had some rather interesting things happen with US drones that suggest interference from the other side.
Is this like the idea that fighters didn’t need a gun because missiles were the wave of the future.
“I drive ~ 1hr each way for work.”
Glad I don’t have your gas bill.
“If I’m driving, I’m free to think about whatever ... which may or may not be work related.”
Do us all a favor and let us know when you’re on the road. I don’t know about most folks but I try to avoid drivers interested in situational awareness.
Freedom is a wonderful thing.
I try to avoid drivers interested in situational awareness.
That's a very strange thing for you to do ... but again, freedom is a wonderful thing.
Since I'm very aware of my situation, whether driving or doing anything else ... I'm sure you'll want to stay very far away from me.
And that's OK.
You may have to join a race track club and buy a special vehicle.
But average speed limits will increase dramatically.
The risk of a crash will fall close to zero.
Looky-Loo congestion will fall close to zero.
The space between cars on an expressway will be reduced by at least 50%, probably more, which means a three lane road becomes a virtual six lane road.
The cost of car insurance will drop dramatically.
I'll bet we'll have robotic commercial trucks on the Interstate Highway system by 2025.
Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.
“Freedom is a wonderful thing.”
If you’ve got the money to burn for a two hour commute more power to you. Again I’m glad I don’t have to shell out mucho dollars just to get to work and can spend more time with my family instead of being on the road.
“I try to avoid drivers interested in situational awareness.”
Oops. Typo. Meant UNinterested in situational awareness.”
“Since I’m very aware of my situation”
Says you. What difference is there between your day dreaming and the lady yakking on the phone while putting on lipstick gunning down the highway over 70? You feel safe around that sort of inconsiderate hussy?
That's nice. Good for you. I hope you have a wonderful life.
What difference is there between your day dreaming
How's about you quit your failed attempts to read my mind, quit falsely accusing me, and get your head out of your ass?
“That’s nice. Good for you. I hope you have a wonderful life.”
I do actually. More money in my pocket and more time with my family is a big part of that. Enjoy your commuting & the accompanying $4.10 a gallon gas bill.
“How’s about you quit your failed attempts to read my mind, quit falsely accusing me, and get your head out of your ass?”
Bit touchy aren’t we? You were the one who gladly advertised how much you enjoy daydreaming while driving. Do us all a favor & keep your eyes and head focused on the road.
per Jim’s house rules:
“Please: NO profanity, NO personal attacks, NO racism or violence in posts.”
Just go away.
I bet we see robotic freight trains long before we see robotic commercial trucks.
LOL, you’re the one mouthing off like a 12 year. Let me guess - cranky from a long day’s drive?
I'm sure you perfectly enjoy it in your perfect little way.
I have better things to do with my life than waste it on perfect little people.
Two guys, a bunch of computers, a watchtower, and hundreds of freight cars, coupling, uncoupling, and moving around by themselves.
I did some work with Amazon Fresh a few months back.
They just bought a company, Kiva maybe?
Their little robots pick food orders right off warehouse shelves and deliver them to the correct trucks.
Some people can walk and chew gum at the same time. They generally can also drive and think about life at the same time.
Others find multi-tasking like that too difficult. They long for the day of drone chairs, carrying them down the sidewalk while they concentrate on chewing gum...
BTW - nearly 40 years of driving, thinking about other things, and my only accident was when I was at a stoplight, and a van behind me decided red lights were optional.
Yes, and we have a partly remote controlled, partly robotic rail system outside the yards. But there are still engineers and conductors on board.
“I’ll bet we’ll have robotic commercial trucks on the Interstate Highway system by 2025. “
I wish there was some way I could take you up on your bet.
OTOH, I kind of like the mental image of I-10 in LA, with all the liberals in their automated cars doing 100 mph, when a rat pees on the central computer’s power switch...
What central computer?
Seriously ... the current paradigm is a bunch of independently controlled vehicles each with a very powerful guidance computer, recieving data from very high resolution 3D imaging system and a remarkably sophisticated attitude and environmental monitoring system, operating a thoroughly integrated set of route planning, collision avoidance, and environmental adjustment algorighms.
Why replace all that distributed computing, that allows vehicles to seamlessly enter and exit the system, with a mere central computer that has to keep track of it all remotely?
“Seriously ... the current paradigm is a bunch of independently controlled vehicles each with a very powerful guidance computer, recieving data from very high resolution 3D imaging system and a remarkably sophisticated attitude and environmental monitoring system, operating a thoroughly integrated set of route planning, collision avoidance, and environmental adjustment algorighms.”
Cheaper to just put a human behind the wheel.
Drones have very limited capability in the military. They have none on the highways, and I’d cheerfully bet that won’t change in 12 years...
That's what I just described. ;'}
OTOH, what's the cost to raise a human from zygote to fully trained driver?
Actually it’s not even a powerful computer or high resolution anything. Most of it is running off of GPS for the navigation, and proximity sensors like the self parking cars for the near stuff. They’ve realized an important factor of driving that most people don’t actually think about but it is how people really work: you don’t need specifics, you just need to know where the blobs you don’t want to hit are. A 3D image system will tell you all kinds of data about the thing you’re trying not to hit, but the important data is size direction and distance, which is easy to do with relatively unsophisticated stuff. Just like when you drive, while if you look at something long enough you get all kinds of specific data, but most of the time it’s just a thing about yea big, moving to where you want to be too fast for you to turn now. It was the big leap in realizing how little you actually need to know about your surroundings that allowed self parking cars, the first big step to automated driving.
I was describing the human driver. Or trying to.
In fact, trying to describe and quantify exactly what we do and how we do it when we drive is not easy.
It was the big leap in realizing how little you actually need to know about your surroundings that allowed self parking cars,
Granted ... it may be that in terms of computational power and sensing capability we (humans) are way overqualified for mere driving.
Ah. Yeah we kind of are overqualified, which is why we have radios. It’s also why we tend to stop paying attention behind the wheel, we’re bored, then we get in an accident.
IMHO the UAV is the future of air-to-ground combat. But until railgun AAA exists, capable of knocking everything out of the sky across an entire theater, fighters will dogfight with fighters. Thanks neverdem.
While the B-52 was in development, I think in 8th grade I had to do a report to my class from the little article of its development from the Weekly Reader. Hazy memory.