Some interesting observations from the good folks as Fevered Rants regarding the prospect of unmanned aircraft being the wave of the future. Is the manned combat aircraft soon to be a thing of the past?
I agree that we will be seeing more and more of a role for UAVs but there are also some serious weaknesses in the theory that they will completely supplant manned fighters. Against the likes of Iraq, Serbia and Afghanistan circa 2001, UAV’s have much to commend them. Yet sooner or later (probably later) the USA will have to fight an enemy who will have access to technology much closer in quality to that which is available to America itself…which means high quality sophisticated electronic warfare (EW). One of the realities of EW is that you can never be quite sure of what the enemy can do until he does it and it is a hell of a lot cheaper to jam the controls of a UAV than it is to fire a missile at one. However the only way to completely jam a manned aircraft is with a fast moving object (like a missile or cannon shell).