Navy drones offer advantages, but won't replace manned aircraft

Unmanned aircraft systems offer clear advantages to naval forces conducting certain types of missions, but they cannot replace the judgment a trained pilot can bring to bear in a particularly challenging situation, reports Navy Times.

Large UAS, such as Northrop Grumman’s X-47B, under development for launching from aircraft carriers will be particularly useful in areas of the globe where flights involve long distances, such as in the Pacific Ocean, where it can outlast a manned aircraft on patrol or reconnaissance missions.

Nevertheless, the Navy has no plans to do away with trained aviators. “That’s not even a goal,” said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, X-47B program manager, in a July teleconference.

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