25 November, 2006

UAV: the jet fighter of the future?

The Times relates how Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) played a key role in Operation Mountain Fury, the Taliban clearance programme in eastern Afghanistan.

American B1 bombers flew in at night to pound the mountain caves and, when the Taleban fled, the British Harriers struck.

A UAV flew silently overhead monitoring the mountainside with its infra-red sensors. These images were relayed to the Harrier pilots, who used the information to target the fleeing Taleban soldiers.

Now the Ministry of Defence is trying to tell us that UAVs are the future and will eventually replace piloted aircraft.
...the Ministry of Defence believes that the jet fighters of the future will all be unmanned.

It does not envisage buying any more manned fighters after the Joint Strike Fighter, or F35, reaches the end of its lifespan in about 30 years.
Obvious nonsense from the MoD in super cost-saving mode. As the Times points out, at the end of the article, the RAF does not agree.
There is no question that in 30 years the RAF will be relying more on unmanned platforms to drop bombs and fire guided missiles. However, this does not signal the demise of the human factor in the air force business. RAF chiefs and fighter pilots agree that the eyes and brain of a highly trained professional man or woman in the cockpit will still be required in plans for the future.

No comments: