Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sky Net?

The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS)
Onboard USS Harry S Truman (CVN-75)
Buck has an interesting post up today regarding that "thing" on Truman's flight deck (above). Yes, I said it, "thing".

I know the Department of Defence (DoD) is very enamored of these flying semi-robots being flown by a dude in a trailer hundreds (if not thousands) of miles away. And they're fine as long as we're not engaged in fighting a nation-state. As long as we're chasing hill tribes through the mountains or nefarious types wandering the desert in Land Rovers, these things will work.

Put one of those things up against even a semi-trained human pilot in a fairly modern jet aircraft? Mr. Drone up there gets his ass handed to him just about every time.

My contention is that against a real opponent, with a real Air Force, those drones won't stand a chance. Even if the communications from Mr. Drone to Mr. Pretend Pilot sitting in a trailer in freaking Utah aren't interrupted, the guy in the trailer isn't in the fight. He can't feel the situation. He doesn't have that 360 degree situational awareness that is life or death in a real aerial fight.

No sir, Mr. Bad Guy will put Mr. Drone in an awkward spot and either finish the semi-robot with a missile or gun him with the ever popular 20mm cannon. Mr. Drone won't be coming home, so put your Mattel joystick away and have another Mountain Dew Mr. Pretend Pilot, you're out of the fight.

Drones are a contractor's wet dream. They're expensive and will take years to perfect. And DoD will keep tweaking the requirements and telling the public that they're sons and daughters will never have to go in harm's way again. The drones will do the fighting.




Just so we're clear. No. I don't like drones. Not even a little.


  1. Don't like 'em, either. Too easy for the powers-that-be to sic them on you and me here in the good ole US of A.

    1. Hadn't thought of that. But you're right. Maybe that's why I titled the post Sky Net? I guess my subconscious was paying attention. D'oh!

  2. Drones are good for a few things, mostly persistent surveillance and (as you said) popping Land Rovers in open desert or in the hills o' Gawdfersakenstan. But for air-to-air? Not in our lifetimes (which ain't sayin' a WHOLE lot, in my case), mebbe not even in our kids' lifetimes.

    Thanks for the link!

    1. Well, it was a good post you had there. And after a day of dealing with the sad, dismaying world of defence contracting, I just had to blow off steam on somebody's "dream" project.

      Heh. Thanks for providing me with an outlet!

  3. Hey Murph- You're worried about drones surveilling us? Why should they? The govt is ALREADY doing it using our phone records- so what if they can see what we're doing- they can HEAR everything, watch what we're watching, monitor our internet usage, etc.

    These drones aren't going to be dogfighting, but with air superiority and low RCS, we can conduct ISR and drop a weapon without risking a pilot. There's something to be said about that. I don't deny they are expensive, but what's getting cut during sequestration- programs? Nope. People- because people are much more expensive in the long run than programs, and easier to cut. Cutting personnel has no major constituency to complain, but cut a program? That's jobs. Drones are the way of the future Sarge, like it or not.

    1. Drones are the wave of the future only against an opponent with no Air Force. If we don't have manned aircraft, we will go the way of the dodo against nations who do.

      I stand by my original opinion.

  4. I can't wait till the Crips and Bloods in Chicago get their hands on drones.

    Heck, there are already "legit" RC aircraft on the market that can easily be equiped to carry cargo, why not a .380 or 9mm semi?

    I figure if the toughest gun-laws in the country (Illinois) can't stop the little bastards from loading out with semi-auto weapons, then killer drones will be next.

    No more drive-bys at the local McDonalds.

    Strafing the hood is on the way!

    1. Actually the little bastards have fully automatic weapons in the form of cheap 9mm submachine guns.

      I do believe there was a terrorist who was looking at using RC aircraft to act as little robot kamikazes.

      Damn. Now the gov't will start looking to ban RC aircraft.

      An interesting, and scary, point Toejam.


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