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Will Unmanned Aircraft Systems replace Pilots?

Originally published on Published Online: November 10, 2010 
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 Aviation History Reader Poll

Unmanned aircraft systems are the acknowledged wave of the future in military aviation (see story "The Rise of Unmanned Aircraft"). What place is there for traditional pilots in services increasingly dominated by UAS and their ground-bound operators?

Give us your thoughts in the comments box below.

5 Responses to “Will Unmanned Aircraft Systems replace Pilots?”

  1. 1
    Old Crow says:

    Until they can come up with a 10+ G pilot the future of atmospheric flight belongs to RPG/APG aircraft.

  2. 2
    krb says:

    I hope not. The recent loss of that stealth spy plane proves the point…a remote pilot cannot react the same way as a pilot on site. that would have never happened had there been a pilot onboard. I understand it was a smallish remotely controlled aircraft, and better to lose a machine than a pilot, but no robotic aircraft will ever be able to perform at the level a manned aircraft in so far as being able to react to the situation.

  3. 3
    Midnite says:

    Unlikely. Unmanned aircraft comes packaged complete with their own sets of weaknesses that a savvy enemy can exploit. Autonomous airplanes will only be as good as the people that program them, so their tactical flexibility in any given situation is questionable. Remote controlled aircraft are only as reliable as the signal that links them to their pilots, which suggest that the countermeasures against them might be a lot cheaper than the weapon system itself. Robotic warfare adds a new dimension to the battlefield, but I hardly think it's going to replace anything that is already on it, either in the near future or afterward.

  4. 4
    DesertHiFlyer says:

    So far, at least, it seems RPVs saved us a lot of logistics and POWs.

  5. 5
    sneaky says:

    Unmanned aircraft are great, but they rely on satellites to relay information and control. We're developing technology to destroy satellites. Don;t forget an EMP explosion can knock out satellites as well. Without them our unmanned aircraft are helpless.

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