Archive for the 'drone warfare' Tag

Drone technology won't truly take off until leadership accepts autonomous platforms as a core pillar of future forces and operations.

Drone technology won’t truly take off until leadership accepts autonomous platforms as a core pillar of future forces and operations.

As the human hand moves further from the throttle and tiller, the nervousness of leadership is unavoidable. Although drones are integral to ISR, OTH strike, and explosives disposal, they remain a force multiplier, never the force. It is an important step beyond that trepidation for the Secretary of the Navy to have illustrated in clear terms the inevitability of unmanned and automated drones’ frontline future in his article, “The Future Has Arrived.”

The key concept change is the discussion of drones as a force that “put[s] fewer sailors and marines in harms’ way, and… push[es] the area of potential action even further from the decks of our ships” particularly from carrier bases. This puts drones on the front lines of America’s on-demand forward deployed forces. The subtle tip of the cap to truly automated platforms is the statement that, “unmanned carrier aircraft do not require flights to maintain pilot proficiency.” Even remote pilots need to “fly” remote aircraft to maintain proficiency. However, automated platforms do not. To mince the point, the Secretary is a bit optimistic. Yes, flight requirements will be far lower. However, drones will ultimately still have to be flown to test the limits of programming and for those programs to learn. Otherwise, we use programming that is too rigid for tactical evasion or air-to-air engagement. That said, the general concept is sound, Drones will become our defense-in-depth, fighting at the front rather than the fringe.

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