USA resumes surveillance operations in Niger18 September 2023
Directed Energy Weapons: from fiction to reality19 September 2023
In a world where technological advances are redefining the battlefield, the US Air Force is moving decisively in a futuristic direction, envisioning a fleet of “winged” drones as central elements of its defense strategy against the potentially adversarial powers of Russia and China.
The US Air Force is highlighting its urgent need to develop a fleet of “winged” UAVs, seen as crucial to countering the potential threats posed by Russia and China. Collaboration between manufacturers and the armed forces is intensifying, with “crystal-clear” communication and joint efforts to accelerate the development and adoption of these futuristic technologies.
Technological developments: fruitful collaboration
According to David Alexander, President of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, a company specializing in the manufacture of unmanned aerial vehicles such as the Gray Eagle and Reaper, communication between buyers (armed forces) and manufacturers is currently “crystal clear”. This clarity fosters an environment conducive to investment and rapid progress in drone technology.
Involvement of Defense Sector Companies
Robert Winkler, Vice President at Kratos, a California-based company specializing in the development of unmanned defense platforms, points out that the Air Force and the Department of Defense have expressed their desires “100%”. They have expressed particular interest in projects such as “Project Venom”, which envisages the use of autonomous F-16s.
Winged Drones: A Revolution in Combat Strategies
Versatility and flexibility
Service managers envisage a variety of missions for these “winged” drones, including reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, signal jamming, serving as decoys and even carrying out strikes with their own missiles. These unmanned aircraft could offer pilots greater flexibility and firepower, creating a more adaptive and responsive military force.
Varying costs and complexities
Winged” UAVs could vary in terms of cost and complexity, with some being expensive and valuable, while others could be easily traded in during combat. This diversity offers the possibility of a more nuanced and adaptable military strategy, capable of responding to diverse threats with optimal efficiency.
Artificial Intelligence: The Key to Future Warfare
The Rapid Adoption of Artificial Intelligence
Brigadier General Scott Cain, Commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory, highlights the crucial importance of artificial intelligence (AI) in future conflicts. AI is expected to play a central role in rapidly understanding the operational picture and making decisions.
By 2021, the Pentagon was managing more than 685 AI-related projects, including several linked to major weapons systems. The rapid evolution of AI, autonomous operations and human-machine collaboration requires coordinated efforts between government, academia and industry partners to keep pace.
The rapid evolution of the military technology landscape, characterized by the development of “winged” drones and increasing adoption of artificial intelligence, marks a new era in US defense strategies. As the US Air Force actively plans the integration of these elements into its fleet, close and effective collaboration with defense companies is proving to be the key to success.
In this context, it is imperative that the various players involved continue to collaborate transparently and effectively, to ensure that these technologies evolve at the pace required by the ever-changing global security landscape. In the future, it will be essential to keep a close eye on progress in this area, as it could well redefine not only the way in which the USA conducts its military operations, but also the balance of power on the world stage.
Fly a jet fighter is the fighter jet experience specialist.