USAF contemplates unmanned jet option
By Caitlin Harrington
The US Air Force (USAF) is already considering what its next generation of fighter aircraft will look like and one possibility is a new stealthy, unmanned fighter jet, according to USAF Chief of Staff General Michael Moseley.
Talking to Jane's on 16 October, Gen Moseley said that he has asked officials at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force/Acquisition to review requirements for a "sixth-generation" fighter.
One possibility might be an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) treated with special laminates to increase stealth.
Gen Moseley said some critics have accused the USAF of a half-hearted commitment to UAVs but he said the fact that he would consider an unmanned fighter proves those critics are wrong.
Defence analyst Steve Zaloga agreed, saying all evidence indicates the USAF is fully committed to the unmanned mission. The service spends more money on unmanned systems than the other services put together, he said.
However, Zaloga cautioned that he finds it difficult to envision the USAF developing an unmanned fighter jet because of the technical hurdles involved.
"There is no integrated sensor that can make the kind of judgments a pilot has to do in the air-to-air environment," Zaloga said. 202 of 610 words
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