Accession Number : ADA602090


Title :   Nightfall: Machine Autonomy in Air-to-Air Combat


Descriptive Note : Journal article


Corporate Author : AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL AIR FORCE RESEARCH INST


Personal Author(s) : Byrnes, Michael W


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a602090.pdf


Report Date : Jun 2014


Pagination or Media Count : 29


Abstract : Although one finds no shortage of professional and academic conversation about remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) and potential unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV), there is a distinct lack of forecasting of their futures on the basis of a tight fusion of tactics, technology, and the enduring truths of air combat. This article claims that a tactically autonomous, machine-piloted aircraft whose design capitalizes on John Boyd s observe, orient, decide, act (OODA) loop and energy-maneuverability constructs will bring new and unmatched lethality to air-to-air combat. It submits that the machine s combined advantages applied to the nature of the tasks would make the idea of human-inhabited platforms that challenge it resemble the mismatch depicted in The Charge of the Light Brigade. A convergence of new technologies indicates the earliest stages of emergence of a tactically game-changing approach to air warfare, but the institutional Air Force appears skeptical perhaps since this theory of air dominance begins life in an environment resistant and rightfully cautious toward its development. To date, a credible RPA optimized for air combat has not been developed, and the nation and service face severe fiscal austerity, increasing risk aversion. Furthermore, the idea of a machine outflying the world s best fighter pilots may frustrate and unsettle conventional wisdom, inviting political contention.


Descriptors :   *AERIAL WARFARE , *COMBAT VEHICLES , *REMOTELY PILOTED VEHICLES , AIRCRAFT , BRIGADE LEVEL ORGANIZATIONS , CONVERGENCE , FIGHTER AIRCRAFT , MANEUVERABILITY , OPTIMIZATION , PILOTS , REPRINTS , RESISTANCE , RISK , THEORY , WARFARE


Subject Categories : Military Aircraft Operations


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE