Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles: Transformation of the USAF
MARINE CORPS UNIV QUANTICO VA SCHOOL OF ADVANCED WARFIGHTING
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The United States military should explore multiple types of Unmanned combat Air Vehicles UCAVs to deal with the realities of casualty aversion and increasing battlefield lethality, but should procure simple and expendable platforms now while developing more sophisticated, high technology unmanned strike aircraft for the future. There are several reasons to adopt unmanned attack aircraft. Casualty aversion and increasing lethality of ground based air defense are the most prevalent. There is a strong requirement for all services to address these issues as they develop new technologies and look to the lessons of Desert Storm, and Kosovo. Emerging design technology coupled with a proliferation of real time intelligence information is making manned attack aircraft obsolete and too expensive. Of course, there are arguments against UCAVs they may be technologically unworkable, decrease operational flexibility, increase fratricide risk and may be unnecessary given other similar weapons or even space based weaponry. The arguments for UCAVs outweigh the ones against however, we must ensure that tactical, expendable UCAVs are developed in conjunction with other manned weapons systems and new munitions. The USAF should pioneer the eventual development of a sophisticated long range UCAV, while all services pursue less expensive unmanned platforms to meet service requirements.
- Pilotless Aircraft