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Old 05-11-2019, 10:35 PM
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Default The future of Air combat?



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https://www.outerplaces.com/science/...-fighter-pilot

So lets add this article - https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2019/0...-air-wing.html

So a drone operator will not be on the ground but in the air commanding multiple drones and assessing threats and dispatching drones while protected by AI?

On another tangent we have the Navy wanting drone aircraft performing in air refueling operations - https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2019/0...-air-wing.html

Comment 1: The machine gun was supposed to make the idea of war too horrible and thus prevent it from happening.

Comment 2: Are we too clever for own good?

Comment 3. I won't be missing sleep worrying about things i don't have a hand in.
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Old 05-11-2019, 10:46 PM
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why would you need someone operating the drone? pretty soon they'll be able to control themselves, and they can be controlled via satellite.. i think the future of air combat will see a lack of manned aircraft in general
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Old 05-12-2019, 04:09 AM
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Once the com links are secure and fast enough, no pilot would be necessary. The biggest drawback in aircraft design is the need to limit the craft's performance so the aircrew will be safe. Remove the crew and the craft loses a great deal of weight and gains a great deal of fuel. The aircraft could be programmed to takeoff, fly a mission, and land, so the remote operator would mainly be a safety factor.
Theoretically, the com link would be secure because of the levels of encryption utilized in the com link. The flaw is that although the enemy probably couldn't take over the craft, it might be able to jam the signal and cut the operator out of the loop, and unintentionally create a scenario like in Doctor Strangelove.
In friendly areas the craft would utilize IFF to aid in detection and prevent friendly fire.
It will be a rough transition because pilots will fight to remain in total control of the craft. I saw the same thing in ACLS systems I installed.
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by justin22885 View Post
why would you need someone operating the drone? pretty soon they'll be able to control themselves, and they can be controlled via satellite.. i think the future of air combat will see a lack of manned aircraft in general
The technology already exists and has been fielded. Load a mission profile up just like for any other aircraft. The operator at this time is simply a safeguard as well as a manual fail-safe to the drone going rogue or delivering a strike when the risk of collateral damage is high. An operator can avoid that.
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:03 PM
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Future air battles will be at mach 5 and above. No dog fights, ram/scram jets will just rain hell.
Drones biggest use is eyes in the sky and some hellfire launches

My 2 cents worth
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:08 PM
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do we need to even use aircraft to deliver explosives, when we can guide missiles directly where we want them to go?
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:48 AM
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Current drones rely on satellite links to their ground controllers. My understanding of the airborne controller system is that it can't be disabled by destroying the satellites.
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:01 AM
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I think the original thread title asks the most interesting question. What is the future of air combat?
In recent engagements, the oponent quickly seeded air dominancw to the US.
So after a couple days of a one sided air war, they abandoned their ground forces.
I do not expect all potential oponents to be has hopelessly out matched as Iraq.

The other aspect of air combat is direct strike of ground targets, using fighters, large bombers, and close air support aircraft.
While the US have been utilizing drone aircraft for long duration survielance and interdiction of high value targets, I dont see them ever replacing large bombers and CAS aircraft.

I believe the future of air combat will include fighting against well prepared and equipted military forces. These forces will give us all the fight we can handle and will use drones to try and even the odds agaist 5th generation fighter aircraft. What these opponents will discover, is the US military can shut down their coordinated air defenses using our drones, then bring large waves of heavy bombers, and destroy their air forces overnight.

I do not see the manned bombers and CAS aircraft going away, but the first 8-10 hours of the next war will truely be shock and awe.
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Old 05-13-2019, 05:01 PM
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I believe the future of air combat will include fighting against well prepared and equipted military forces. These forces will give us all the fight we can handle and will use drones to try and even the odds agaist 5th generation fighter aircraft. What these opponents will discover, is the US military can shut down their coordinated air defenses using our drones, then bring large waves of heavy bombers, and destroy their air forces overnight.
This is a good point. The problem is the numbers. It's simple math. If the Chinese or the Russians field more, our technical superiority will eventually be overwhelmed. Ask the Germans about that one.

The Chinese have made no secret of their efforts to achieve parity with the US.
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Old 05-13-2019, 05:17 PM
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Need a lot more F-22s. I guess we are going to build more in cooperation with Japan.

In my opinion, too much reliance on massive remote data transfers and control links.
Russia seems to have a super Jammer on their top line fighters now. All of our wiz bang tech may not work against a peer airforce.

Also, these mass attacks with cruise missiles seems to be obsolete technology now. Depending upon who you believe, well over half of our cruise missiles failed to reach the target in Syria due to jamming and SAMs.

then there is the reliance on Stealth over aerodynamic maneuverability and speed which could be a strategic error.
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:16 PM
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Keep in mind the baseline Tomahawk cruise missile was designed 40 yrs ago, when I was still in highschool.
They have been improved several times, but advanced air defenses have learned to handle them.

Which is why we designed several more advanced cruise missile, which are more survivable.
By the time I retired in 2014, the US had built several hundred thousand strike missiles they have not learned to stop.
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Old 05-13-2019, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justin22885 View Post
why would you need someone operating the drone? pretty soon they'll be able to control themselves, and they can be controlled via satellite.. i think the future of air combat will see a lack of manned aircraft in general
They're already controlled via satellite. Sites CONUS run them. I know someone doing it, though he can't ever discuss anything specific.

It's all good. This, the new Hellfire that kills terrorists with swords... amazing stuff.
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:54 AM
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Depending on how far we’re looking out, I see a continuation in the development of stealth technology and advanced sensors. We’re increasing the range we can detect and engage our enemies while remaining unseen. There’s also continued development of counter and counter counter measures as required to defeat our opponent’s technological advances.

The article about an AI fighter is fun to think about, but I can’t see how it could be realistically possible. There are too many judgement based variables to consider during an intercept, especially if you plan to engage BVR. There’s certainly no way you could fly BFM or CAS without a person in the cockpit because it’s so visually dependent, so I don’t see fighter drones existing either.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:57 AM
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The USAF has been building these for a number of years. QF-100, QF-106, and QF-4 come to mind. F-5s and I'm sure others have also been modified to be autonomous. These aircraft are used for target drones to test new air to air and ground/ship to air missiles, but I don't doubt that they could be armed with missiles, bombs, whatever.

Having said all that, they also have a self-destruct device on board in case they lose their control link. Don't know how many times its been used, but it's still there for a purpose.

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