Deus Ex Machina's Profile
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10 August 2009 - 05:17 PMExcept that planes are so automated these days -- and the future planes will be FURTHER automated -- that you're not really talking about the difference between a manned fighter and a drone -- you're talking the difference between a manned DRONE and an unmanned drone.
For instance, do you have any idea how much wiring is in a gen-4 fighter? Take a crack at how much is in a gen-5? It's in the tens of miles. Fly-by-wire has been around for so long that to question automated air systems is at the very least ignorant, and at the very worst borderline-retarded. If UAVs can't be scaled up to aerial-combat vessels, it's only because of a lack of effort.
There's a difference between Fly-by-wire on a Gen-5 fighter an the wiring in a drone. A drone's wiring responds to external commands that it receives via some kind of wireless signal. The Fly-by-wire on a Gen-5 fighter responds to commands from the pilot in the cockpit. The difference between these two systems are huge. An appropriate analogy is this: I can jam the signal between someone's wireless router and a wireless laptop, because the signal passes through open sky. I can't jam someone's signal between their wired router and their wired desktop, because the signal is shielded through a cable. Once you develop drones which can function entirely on their own (as in, once the drone is launched, it needs no more input), then I'll be more than happy to help replace manned fighters.
However, even completely autonomous drones are risky, because you run in to the I-Robot scenario where the drone makes the statistically correct, but morally incorrect choice, because it does not have the same conception of morality that a fighter pilot does.
07 August 2009 - 08:55 PM
07 August 2009 - 08:43 PMWhy the hell not?
Because having a compliment of proven, reliable, yesteryear technology is less risky than having a compliment of unprove, unreliable futuristic technology.
The problem with shifting over to drones from manned fighter aircraft is that drones don't have the same inherent capabilities of a fighter aircraft. Currently, only concept aircraft have jet engines, where as the current arsenal of drones have prop engines. Drones (and all computer systems in general) are highly vulnerable to electronic attacks, which drones haven't been tested to be impervious against in combat. Saddam Hussein and the Taliban did not have the same kind of electronic warfare capabilities as China, or even North Korea have. A manned fighter, on the other hand, at least has a pilot to guide the aircraft (somewhat) manually.
Keep in mind that I'm not saying we shouldn't be pursuing drones, and I'm not saying we shouldn't be investing copious amounts of money to develop them. However, the human factor can't be phased out yet; a man in the control room of a building will not have the same capabilities as a pilot in the field for a long time. I won't say that the period where drones aren't as capable as manned aircraft is going to be over thirty years, but I wouldn't be surprised if 2040 rolls around, and manned fighter aircraft as still as useful as ever.
07 August 2009 - 08:18 PMBILLY MAYS HERE FOR CRACK COCAIN... I MEAN OXICLEAN.
07 August 2009 - 08:17 PMSaltandVinegar.