back to article Unmanned aircraft rubbish, says senior US pilot

One of the US air force's most senior pilots has cast doubt on the usefulness of unmanned aircraft. According to Aviation Week & Space Technology, USAF general Ronald E Keys, chief of Air Combat Command, made negative remarks about drone aircraft survivability on Wednesday during a keynote conference speech. General Keys, who …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
JBR

Reg shocker!

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/22/flying_robots_r_toss_says_top_pilot/

Brilliant!

0
0

4000 hours?

Given that the basic requirement for several small commercial pilot companies is 5000 hours of flight time (more for the larger outfits), 4000 hours of flight time over an entire career seems less than impressive to me.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Obvious use for the Predator....

I want to know why the USAF hasn't explored the idea of a hybrid air force. Imagine loading a B-52 with twenty or thirty drone aircraft, which could serve as recon, decoys, and combat air support for the command plane?

How about using Predators to extend the radar range of an AWAC, by forming an overlapping grid around it?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Key quote

The general is reported to have said, "I want a system that looks like the Internet," by which he undoubtedly means one that is clogged with porn and advertisements for V1@GR@.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

USAF Pissing Match

This sounds more like a pissing match than anything. Anyone that has been in the military can tell you about the pissing matches between Army/Marines and the USAF, it sounds like this 'top pilot' is just pissy about having to take orders from ground troops.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Little Fleas

"Imagine loading a B-52 with twenty or thirty drone aircraft, which could serve as recon, decoys, and combat air support for the command plane?"

Imagine if the drones had little bomb bays that contained smaller drone aircraft, and imagine if the miniature drone aircraft had bomb bays of their own, which contained still-smaller aircraft, and so on until the second-smallest drones are launching nanotechnological specks of dust. One single B-52 could contain all the matter in the universe, thus overwhelming the enemy force by smothering it, or depriving it, or crushing it.

Imagine an aircraft larger than a B-52 that has a bomb bay capable of holding twenty or thirty drone B-52s; imagine a hollow B-52 that contains several duplicate of itself housed in the same space, but shifted a few atoms to the left. Imagine a dwarf riding into the sunset on the back of a horse, with a naked priest lady. Imagine naked monks whipped with cactuses.

0
0

John Henry

Sounds like a certain flyboy doesn't want his job outsourced.

Sure, they could shoot down a predator with missiles. But, put the next generation predator electronics in an F-22, divide the controls/responsibilities so that four experienced combat pilots are sitting in a room flying it at the same time and see if a single human pilot can beat it in a dogfight - especially when the main commander orders that first ridiculous-G-force-blackout-inducing turn.

0
0

What about lag?

The idea of remotely controlled fighter aircraft has always struck me as ridiculous.

Signal lag will always be a problem no matter how close by the pilots are.

Satelite lag would make such a plane a sitting duck - no matter how many G-forces it can pull in a turn. Remember that the missiles used against it will be able to pull just as many G-forces.

The pilot could maybe be in a command plane in the near proximity, but then that command plane would be the obvious target.

Even then, the hardening needed to make the control signals safe against jamming (or takeover) would add further lag, that could very well be the differentiating factor in a dogfight.

So for a robot fighter aircraft to become effective, it must be able to fight on its own without a human pilot controlling the detailed moves beyond "attack target X".

0
0
Anonymous Coward

er...

I thought the point wasn't how easy or not they are to shoot down, but that when you do shoot them down, nobody dies?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

re 4000 hours

And how many of those commercial pilots are being shot at, and using military planes with high fuel consumption. Military pilots fly sorties, not scheduled passenger routes to the far east and pacific.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re "Obvious use for the Predator...."

"Imagine loading a B-52 with twenty or thirty drone aircraft, which could serve as recon, decoys, and combat air support for the command plane?"

someone seems to have read some of the Dale Brown novels then....

mate the first book came out with that suggestion years ago.

let me guess, the other suggestion was to call it an EB-52?

0
0

‘Unmanned aircraft rubbish, says senior US pilot’

Time for USAF general Ronald E Keys, chief of Air Combat Command to retire. Apparently he thinks it's better for highly trained pilots to risk their lives in 10x the cost of unmanned aircraft against enemies who don't have aircraft.

There's not going to be anymore Korean or Vietnam style dogfighting over battlefields. The role of the Air Force of has changed to ground support and reconaisance, a role that pilots can fulfill remotely from their living room chair.

For the record, the US Air Force and US Navy carriers were nowhere to be found on 9/11, no Navy carriers scrambled those expensive F16s nor did the Air Force scramble one of those $350million F-22. So, time to retire general.

0
0

F4ck him

At the end of the day it's like this: that drone plane is ugly with a capital Ugh. Phantom F4's are sex on wings, they are proper hourglass figure jets from the days when planes were proud to have big boobs. When are the military going to get their priorities right? We want sexy planes with lots of fishnet stealth and (un)revealing camouflage paintwork - now. Not stick insect slab-sided bony supermodel designs. We want lust-seeking air lasses with all the weaponry, massive double-fuel tanks on the wings and lotsa Air-to-Groin missiles 'n all. We want landing gear on high heels. We want wings that sweep back when you wanna go all the way/supersonic like they're drooping their shoulders to undress their neglige. Psychological warfare - the enemy will be so discombobulated and salivating and wolf-whistling at the sight of our sexy planes they won't notice the prize heat-seeking priapic missile up their chuff.

On a soberer note:

Ironically enuff F4's were apparently complete dogs to pilot so this guy's 4000 hours shoulda taught him anything's better than a manned F4 at least. Bet he wears silky ladies' underwear, the pussy.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

how about an unmanned AWACS?

These things have a lot of crew (i think the E3 AWACS has 4 flight crew and 16 guys operating the radar gear) ...

Why not make these unmanned? Bigger jets don't need to be as aggressive in the air, they make low g turns, and don't dogfight. They also have the ability for much more bandwidth because thye can get more complex (and usually bigger) transmission gear in them.

Also, if you had to go against a pair of jets with an AWACS in the vicinity, their jets will usually be on a datalink to the radar plane, so they don't have to turn on their radars and make themselves more visible to an attacker, so in this case the radar plane is more of a target, take that down and reduce the fighting efficiency of the planes and forces using it.

How come no one wants to make an unmanned AWACS? or are the American generals only trying to appeal to the "lets blow shit up with shiny gadgets" mob?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Manned/Unmanned

I think the point here is who will win whichever confrontation the aircraft in question are involved in at the time, be they manned or unmanned. This question has been around for many years, and I seem to recall a government in the late 50s early 60sd deciding that we only needed missiles. The labour government of the time ordered F-111s, cancelled them, cancelled the British Aerospace TSR2, a potentially world beating aircraft(the opinion of aviation and RAF personnel far better qualified than I) Having paid General Dynamics the cancellation fee for F111, this countyr had stumped up millions to end up with nothing. If I recall correctly, we had to buy F4 Phantoms to take up the slack. We saved face to some extent by building them in UK and fitting Rolls Royce "Spey" engines I seem to recall. These aircraft and their crews served us well over the years. We had a bout of missile-itis at about this time when the government of the day thought that all that was required was a state of the art missile. Not the case. I, and others far better informed than I, believe that air superiority will be around for a long time yet. For this raeson alone, the day of the dogfighter is not yet dead. If I understand corrcerly, remotely piloted vehicles require a secure microwave link for control. Show me a radio link impervious to jamming and I will say it is more likey to be the second coming.The only other alternative is on-board hardware to do the flying/fighting. Does the AI technology exist for this ? I strongly doubt it. Regarding ground attack, during my Army service (British) I have seen practice air to ground strike missions, and one live. (Radfan, Aden, 1967) The aircraft seem to carry out co-ordinated run ins from different directions and heights, presumably to throw off the aim of the flak/missiles. This, I would guess, requires much precise co-ordination. I would doubt very much that artificial intelligence, or a guy in a van some many miles distant could do this.

I think that Biggles and his buddies will be around for many years yet .

Happy Landings. Gary

0
0

surprise?

So a jet jockey slags unmanned aircraft. That's a surprise then.

And this is the US airforce where you have to be a qualified pilot to control a UAV from the ground.

0
0
Silver badge

Darn...no more friendly fire

Shucks,

those darn pilots won't be able to shoot their own side in the heat of the moment. Instead they'll be forced to take the choice wether to shoot in a calm, collected manner....

How they gonna do whitewashes and cover ups if they don't balls things up in the first place!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Chump....

....I 'aint ever seen a Navy carrier launching an F-16, and am never likely to either since the Fighting Falcon is a land-based jet.

D'oh!

0
0

Unmanned aircraft rubbish says pilot...

... "Christmas should be scrapped" says turkey?

0
0

numbers

4000 hours in an F4 says nothing about how many hours he has in other aircraft.

the reason an AWACS is manned is because radar needs to be interpreted

that's what the 16 guys in the back are doing (among other things). Why not automate a customer support call center? automation only gets you so far; meat is still needed for the rest

0
0

Aahh the good ol' days of aviation...

Let's put back into active service Her Majesty The SR-71 instead, please! If properly updated it can once again rule the skies unmatched. Stop wasting money with whimpy stealth fighters and dumb UAVs!

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums