Friday, August 19, 2011

Some Hobbled Stealth Fighters Cleared to Fly | Danger Room | Wired.com

Some Hobbled Stealth Fighters Cleared to Fly | Danger Room | Wired.com


At least we know this isn't a ploy to ditch our manned uber-expensive stealth fighter fleet to favor a cheaper, higher performance unmanned fighter plane platform that is not currently being developed in secret. Oh, wait.

Think about the long range math of a country with really deep budget issues, where everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is looking to chop funding from the Armed Services, and you have a fleet of billion dollar planes that DO NOT have adversaries. Do you sit pretty and get ready to defend them until they are taken away from you? Or do you make the obvious leap and start planning for a next generation of UAV that can perform in the air superiority role? It's obvious that UAVs work for surveillance and in the ground attack role, so the question is how much money can be saved by removing the elements of the F-22 and F-35 that are needed to keep the air crew alive and switch them to a remote control link?

If situational awareness is an issue, just move the UAV pilots into a sim cockpit and let them fly real the real plane from in there, and overlay real video on the simulator graphics whenever a feed is available for that angle. We already paid for the damn simulators, the only software that has to be written is to overlay the video in the right places, plus connecting the data trunks from the simulator rig into the UAV control van.