Who will get to fly Navy UAVs?

The Navy has decided that unmanned aerial vehicles weighing more than 55 pounds, which includes all of the service’s UAVs except the 40-pound Scan Eagle, will be operated as adjuncts to manned aircraft systems, reports Navy Times.

What’s more, the service expects to assign officers, who are either pilots or naval flight officers, to fly the larger, more complex UAVs, while enlisted sailors will operate the smaller ones that fly at low altitudes and carry out short-range missions, the story said.

Navy officials previously have said they anticipate aviators from manned aircraft communities will leave their primary aircraft after their first or second tours to receive training on an unmanned system before entering operations, the story said.

“This approach will leverage community knowledge and provide better synergies between manned and unmanned capabilities,” Joe Gradisher, spokesman for the deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance, said in a statement.

Reader Comments

Wed, Apr 4, 2012

UAVs, RPVs, Drones or whatever term you want to use for them, they will eventually replace ALL manned aircraft. The morality of using them is an interesting but probably irrelevant point as technology will soon render all human piloted aircraft obsolete, not because of the obvious concerns for the safety of the pilot or the morality of killing with drones but because the limiting factor on manned aircraft performance is how much abuse the human body can endure. We know the limits of the human body but as aircraft technology continues to leap forward, we are going to reach a point where the aircraft will be able to “out perform” the pilot so the only way to take full advantage of the aircraft’s performance will be to remove the “limiting factor” – the pilot – from the cockpit. A drone can simply turn sharper and accelerate quicker than the human body can tolerate so an adversary’s drone will eventually be able to defeat any piloted aircraft we field. And this doesn’t even consider a computer’s faster reflexes than a human to react to situations. In aerial combat, split seconds matter.

Hence, it’s just a matter of time before even the “morality” arguments becomes moot as ALL combat aircraft become “Remotely Piloted Vehicles” (RPVs). Unless we keep up with technology, our piloted planes will eventually be out performed and defeated by our adversaries’ drones. Sorry, you can’t stop progress so it’s only a matter of time. Bet this scares the Heck out of Navy and air Force Fighter Jocks but your days are numbered! Also, this is the perfect situation for using Warrant Officers. Just as most Army pilots are WOs because it allows them to stay in the cockpit without having to worry about the "career enhancing assignments" away from their speciality, Drown pilots can benefit from the same logic.

For a more elaborate explanation why it’s only a matter of time before Military pilots are obsolete, check my article “How Long Will It Be Before Air Force & Navy Cockpit Pilots Are Obsolete?” on my Blog at: http://old-soldier-colonel.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-long-will-it-be-before-air-force.html

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