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The Military Technology

Demand For Unmanned Aircraft Outstripping Their Capabilities 325

Posted by samzenpus
from the more-drones-please dept.
coondoggie writes "Has the highly successful but disparate unmanned aircraft strategy deployed by the military outstripped the Department of Defense's ability to handle its growth? The Air Force, Army, and Navy have requested approximately $6.1 billion in fiscal year 2010 for new systems and expanded capabilities. The Pentagon's fiscal year 2010 budget request wants to increase the Air Force's Predator and Reaper unmanned aircraft programs to 50 combat air patrols by fiscal year 2011 — an increase of nearly 300% since fiscal year 2007. In 2000, the DoD had fewer than 50 unmanned aircraft in its inventory; as of October 2009, this number had grown to more than 6,800. The program's success, however, is causing some big cracks in the system. According to a report issued this week by congressional watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office. The military is facing a number of challenges — including training, accessing national air space, and improving aircraft communications systems — that must be overcome if unmanned aircraft are to take their place as a central piece of the military's future, the GAO stated."
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Demand For Unmanned Aircraft Outstripping Their Capabilities

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  • Boom and bust... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:44PM (#31664804)
    Seems like this works so well they want more of it... but in order for it to do all that they want it to do they'll have to divert resources from the manned flights that exist now. Some programs win, some programs lose. Typical Washington debate about to come up...
    • Re:Boom and bust... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by skids (119237) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:00PM (#31664982) Homepage

      Can we start a talking points bingo pool on which pols first utter the phrase "technology transfer" in relation to this report?

      (Personally, though, I'm sick of subsisting off the technological table scraps of war.)

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      Seems like this works so well they want more of it

      Nothing like Predator drones for hunting moose.

    • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp@[ ]il.com ['Gma' in gap]> on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @12:34AM (#31666490) Homepage Journal

      Seems like this works so well they want more of it... but in order for it to do all that they want it to do they'll have to divert resources from the manned flights that exist now. Some programs win, some programs lose. Typical Washington debate about to come up...

      No, more than that, UAV's are such a contentious issue because of the tremendous culture clash it's causing in the Air Force. In the Army, Navy, and Marines, UAV's are just another military tech tool to use in battle. But in the Air Force, which bases its entire identity on the old Knights of the Air thing, UAV's aren't seen as a valuable tool so much as they're seen as a threat to the very existence of the Air Force itself.

      Think about it. If the day is coming when you can train young, non pilot computer geeks to do what current pilots do.... at less cost and less training time, too.... then why have an independent Air Force at all? Because sooner or later, we'll be able to make UAV fighters that can maneuver better, fly farther, and hit harder than any manned craft of today. It's just a matter of time

      I think the dawn of the UAV era may well herald the end of the independent Air Force, and I think the current crop of pilots know it too. And it begs the question, did a seperate Air Force ever really make that much sense? It was a branch based on a particular technology.... akin to the Army splitting Tanks off into their own separate service, or the Navy doing the same with submarines. Airpower really isn't a doctrine so much as it's just one more weapon in your arsenal.

      I think by our children or grandchildren's lifetimes, the Air Force may be long gone, and looked at the same way jousting knights in armor are looked at... a glamorous, romantic period that was relatively brief, and brought to an end by technology that made it obsolete.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Mistah Blue (519779)
        The future of the Air Force probably lies in space-based operations, while UAV handles Earth operations and is handed back to the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps.
      • by Aceticon (140883) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @09:16AM (#31669354)

        I think the dawn of the UAV era may well herald the end of the independent Air Force, and I think the current crop of pilots know it too. And it begs the question, did a seperate Air Force ever really make that much sense? It was a branch based on a particular technology.... akin to the Army splitting Tanks off into their own separate service, or the Navy doing the same with submarines. Airpower really isn't a doctrine so much as it's just one more weapon in your arsenal.

        One word "Jamming".

        Remote controlled drones work against low-technology enemies that cannot blanket the radio spectrum with high-power white noise or shoot down your high-altitude relays (if you use line-of-sight comms technologies such as lasers). The drones can only go autonomous for simple tasks and are (not yet) capable of wining a dogfight with a human-controlled fighter.

        Going fully dependent on remote controlled drones is a form of "Preparing for the last war".

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by IICV (652597)

          If you blanket the radio spectrum with high-power white noise, you've just made an incredibly attractive target of yourself - jamming involves transmitting a signal that basically says "HEY EVERYONE PAY ATTENTION TO ME NOT TO ANYONE ELSE". That'll last about as long as it takes for a dumb cruise missile to drop on your antenna.

          And if you're the sort of douchebag who sets jammers up in a civilian hospital or something, I'm sure the drone guys are working on that too - you've just told all the drones in the a

  • Bad news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by koan (80826) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:46PM (#31664826)

    These thing remove the human element to much, from dropping missiles onto weddings and random cars they target from "intel" received.
    I think you should have to send in meat soldiers if you want a war, get verification of who your killing, this is making it to easy to unclear to dangerous morally

    • Re:Bad news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Colin Smith (2679) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:49PM (#31664856)

      I think you should have to send in meat soldiers if you want a war, get verification of who your killing, this is making it to easy to unclear to dangerous morally

      Please explain the morality of war to me.

       

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Kill him or he'll kill you.

      • Re:Bad news (Score:5, Insightful)

        by snowraver1 (1052510) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:55PM (#31664948)
        It's like covering your sensors when you play lasertag. It's not a game if only one team can get hit. Unfortunately, this is not lasertag, and life isn't fair
        • Re:Bad news (Score:5, Insightful)

          by c6gunner (950153) on Monday March 29, 2010 @10:08PM (#31665522)

          You got it exactly right. War isn't a game. The less fair we can make it, the better.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by lawpoop (604919)
            Doesn't that just lead to tyranny and despotism? War is not always The Good Guys vs. the Bad Guys, right? In other words, people come to blows ( or explosions ) because they have a serious disagreement. If one party could always shut the other down, no matter how serious the issue, what does that mean for human freedom?
          • Sounds pretty good until you are on the receiving end. And winning through dirty tricks isn't that great either. Wouldn't you prefer a nice game of chess?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
            It's only fair if they engage by the rules. Offer no possibility of defense / retaliation through regular means, and expect those you fight to switch to some truely despicable tactics.

            Purely for survival.
      • by cosm (1072588)
        Robert Heinlein said it best, albeit indirectly. Grok this [umass.edu] and you will understand all human life.
        • Re:Bad news (Score:4, Informative)

          by sweatyboatman (457800) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .namtaobytaews.> on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:19PM (#31665146) Homepage Journal

          Grok this and you will understand all human life.

          now, I have read a lot of Heinlen, and he's written some good stuff, but he was a jerk. while his work can provide a nice entry point to thinking about the human condition, please don't use his writing as the source of knowledge about humanity.

          • Re:Bad news (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:36PM (#31665266) Homepage Journal

            The alternative to Heinlein might be that English guy - Kipling. Reading him gives a lot of insight into military life, and incidentally a little insight into politics. Of course, it helps to actually LIVE what he writes about, to fully appreciate it.

            Yes, human life is tragic. We have all the resources available to make life on earth a near paradise, but we prefer to shit on each other, and ruin everything.

            Ahh well. On subject. The morality of these unmanned killing machine? They don't appeal to me very much. Somehow, it seems a bit cowardly. Osama bin Laden told his troops that digging into the earth in the Tora Bora mountains would save them, because the Americans have no stomach to come into the trenches, and fight hand to hand. We seem to have proved him right in those mountains, and we continue to prove him right with our little toys.

            Yeah, it may be considerably less cowardly to target a high value individual with a missile, than to target 3000 civilians with human missiles. Still - it's not the sort of thing the military has done traditionally. No more 'Charge of the Light Brigade' for us.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Barlo_Mung_42 (411228)

              I think Charge of the Light Brigade is actually an example of why our technology is a good thing morally speaking. The charge was a disaster because of poor information and communication. If our technology can give us better information and help us communicate, we'll attack the wrong target less often and fewer people near the target will die.

            • Re:Bad news (Score:5, Informative)

              by RsG (809189) on Monday March 29, 2010 @10:07PM (#31665518)

              Ahh well. On subject. The morality of these unmanned killing machine? They don't appeal to me very much. Somehow, it seems a bit cowardly.

              Comments like this (and yours is better thought out than many others in this thread) make me wonder if anyone gets how your average UAV actually works.

              You've got a spotter (human) on the ground. He lights up a target to destroy. You've got a Reaper overhead, armed with Hellfire missiles. The pilot of the Reaper (also human) is on the ground somewhere, controlling it remotely. The pilot sees the target illuminated by the spotter, locks on, and fires a missile. Boom.

              Take the UAV and replace it with a manned aircraft and what changes? Nothing. Same spotter, same pilot, same missile. You might argue that the pilot isn't at risk in this instance, but hell, most US pilots are only put at risk when someone on their side screws up. Nobody the US is currently at war with has a hope in hell of threatening their aircraft.

              Just so we're clear, with or without the UAV, you've still got the same human decision makers. We're not at the stage yet where we can trust an armed and autonomous war machine not to screw up. This isn't Skynet, and the spotter on the ground is the one at the greatest risk, and the one deciding what gets cratered.

              If you wanted to argue that using any air support is cowardly, then I'd remind you that war has far less to do with bravery than it does with practicality.

              • You don't necessarily have a spotter on the gound anymore. Instead you can have a remote payload operator - the bomber of yore.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by profplump (309017)

              Ahh well. On subject. The morality of these unmanned killing machine? They don't appeal to me very much. Somehow, it seems a bit cowardly.

              That sounds a lot like the objections people had to aerial bombing. Or automatic guns. Or guns in general. And probably originally to catapults, swords and sharp sticks when they were first put into use in warfare. But as it turns out the goal of warfare is to control the actions of your opponent through force, and to that end new technology (including tactics) is always likely to improve your ability to project force or your ability to resist force, or both.

              The technology in use does not affect the moralit

      • Re:Bad news (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:58PM (#31664968) Homepage Journal

        Please explain the morality of war to me.

        Sometimes going to war is the best of several bad options. It can never be any better than that, but it can indeed be a moral decision.

        Note that I'm not saying this applies to our current wars, just that it does happen from time to time. And when it does, it is also a moral decision to try to reduce the attendant horror as much as possible.

        • by Colin Smith (2679)

          but it can indeed be a moral decision.

          Can you point one out? A moral war that is.

           

          • Re:Bad news (Score:5, Insightful)

            by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:19PM (#31665144)
            Can you point one out? A moral war that is.

            Obviously, WWII comes to mind. From the viewpoint of the Allies, there was no real choice. We did not choose it..it was thrust upon us. and we couldn't negotiate our way out of it. Not fighting that war, i.e. succumbing to the wishes of Germany and Japan, would have resulted in a far different world that what we have now.

            Should the Allies not have fought back?
            • Re:Bad news (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:41PM (#31665302) Homepage Journal

              We did not choose it? You might want to do a little studying about the "peace" conditions imposed on Germany after World War 1.

              No, I'm not EVEN going to try to justify Hitler, and the Nazi party, but raping Germany of her coal and other mining capabilities certainly didn't endear the French to the Germans. There was a lot of stuff the allies imposed on Germany that only tended to feed German nationalism. Remember, the entire world was experiencing the Great Depression, and German workers endured more than a lot of other workers because of those oppressive peace conditions.

              No, maybe we didn't "choose" to have World War 2 - but we certainly contributed to German greviances against us.

              • Re:Bad news (Score:4, Insightful)

                by feepness (543479) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:51PM (#31665372) Homepage
                So then logically the German part of world war II was moral.
              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by c6gunner (950153)

                We did not choose it? You might want to do a little studying about the "peace" conditions imposed on Germany after World War 1.

                By the same logic, women deserve to get raped because they wear skimpy clothing.

                • Bad Analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp@[ ]il.com ['Gma' in gap]> on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @12:47AM (#31666576) Homepage Journal

                  We did not choose it? You might want to do a little studying about the "peace" conditions imposed on Germany after World War 1.

                  By the same logic, women deserve to get raped because they wear skimpy clothing.

                  I think that's a bad analogy in this case. I'm pretty patriotic, and pro-military. I'm a vet as well. And as I've read more about WWI over the years, I've become more and more convinced that WWII didn't have to happen, and that we in the west... including the United States... bear some responsibility for WWII. How? First off, it's becoming harder and harder to convince me that the US had to fight in Europe, that we had any real interest there. The Germans didn't start it, and looking back, was an ascendent Germany really a threat to the US? No, I don't think so. When you get right down to it, I thinking more and more that WWI was just another European Great-Power pissing match.

                  Further, the absolute draconian position that we put Germany in after the war created an atmosphere perfect for the rise of Adolf Hitler. Had we not tipped the balance in favor of the UK and France... had Germany fared better after the war.... I think there's a good chance Hitler never rises to power. He wasn't inevitable. He took advantage of the utter desperation Germans were feeling.

                  Woodrow Wilson should have never agreed to the draconian demands of our fellow allies. Despite his best intentions, all he helped accomplish was the implosion of one empire in favor of two others in Europe.

                  So I think the analogy is more along the lines of a combatant being raped by the victors... and then becoming so twisted by the experience that they embrace total evil to have the satisfaction of their revenge.

            • The problem with that example is that by some accounts, if Japan hadn't bombed pearl harbor, it's just as likely the US would have stayed out of the war entirely.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Triv (181010)

                The problem with that example is that by some accounts, if Japan hadn't bombed pearl harbor, it's just as likely the US would have stayed out of the war entirely.

                Do said accounts mention Lend-Lease [wikipedia.org] at all? The US took sides in March, 1941. Or from the perspective of the Pacific conflict, the US took sides when they instigated embargoes against war supplies Japan desperately needed to (literally) fuel its war effort - Japan needed oil, rubber, and metals to feed the industrial machine, and the US wasn't

          • by furball (2853)

            The French resistance to German occupation in WWII.

          • Can you point one out? A moral war that is.

            He didn't say that there were moral wars, he suggested that sometimes there can be a moral dimension to the decision to go to war. I could give you the default example but I don't want to Godwin this thread.

          • Re:Bad news (Score:5, Insightful)

            by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:42PM (#31665304)

            Can you point one out? A moral war that is.

            Aha! This is a trick question. You ask an objective question, pretending it might be subjective, and when someone gives a subjective answer (even if the answer would be agreed upon by 99% of the world) you will get to play devil's advocate and claim the answer is subjective. The end result: a damaged definition of "moral" and a smug slashdot poster.

            If that's NOT your aim, and your question is a serious one, then I submit that it's harder to name a war that ISN'T fought for a moral cause. Whether you're providing freedom for the oppressed, resources for your starving people, or a more peaceful planet for our grandchildren -- there are few wars fought for war's sake. The morals may be egocentric, delusional, misguided, or just contrary to your own, but they are the fuel for the engine that keeps a war running.

            As an exercise for your philosophical side, generalize the motives to the point that all wars are fought for a more perfect peace, and you quickly realize the unfortunate flipside: For most humans, Peace can only truly defined as a combination of "everyone who is not like me is dead" and "everyone gives me what I need before taking what they need"

            Yes, wars are fought for Peace, and therefore wars are moral. It's just not the Peace that everyone else wants. That's what makes it a war, and that's what makes it immoral.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by astar (203020)

              the roman catholic church way back when did some good work on what is a just war. the considerations they used still pop up in debate. but i once asked a gung-ho solider if he had heard of the concept and he had not, but i am sure he was also a gung-ho Christian

              here is a trivial link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_War [wikipedia.org]

              A reasonable person however would distinguish between justice and morality, IMO.

              some reasonable moralities do however categorically disapprove of atrocities.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by toQDuj (806112)

              Ok... Let's choose some wars not fought for morals:
              - War for oil: Iraq
              - War for revenge: Afghanistan
              - War for money/resources: Pick your local conflict in Africa

              I even am under the impression that WWII was not fought for noble goals either by the "allies"..

          • by Bartab (233395)

            The American Revolutionary War
            The American Civil War
            Mexican American War

          • by LurkerXXX (667952)

            WWII (for the allies)

      • Re:Bad news (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Neon Aardvark (967388) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:07PM (#31665038) Homepage

        The morality of war is that the winners write the history books. And all wars are moral from the victor's viewpoint.

        • by afidel (530433)
          I don't think many people in the west think of Vietnam as a moral war.
          • Re:Bad news (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:40PM (#31665286) Journal
            GP:

            The morality of war is that the winners write the history books. And all wars are moral from the victor's viewpoint.

            Parent:

            I don't think many people in the west think of Vietnam as a moral war.

            That's only a fallacy on GP's part if you think the west won the war in Vietnam.

            • by afidel (530433)
              Close enough, it only cost us equipment and lives, not territory or our independance. We certainly didn't lose in the sense of the victors writing the history books, there are no North Vietnamese Communists writing my history books.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by mirix (1649853)

                I would say getting your asses kicked out of Vietnam, and the south being overrun is a loss.
                It didn't destroy the US, but there's no way you could construe it as a victory.

            • by c6gunner (950153)

              I guess it depends on your definition of "won". It's wrong anyway - European conquerors definitely won the war against the indigenous populations of North America, yet you'd be hard-pressed to find people who would justify such actions. Even those of us who are happy with the results are still forced to admit that the actions of the various empires were quite immoral.

              So no, it's not the winners who write the history books; it's done by the dominant societies of the era, which are influenced by the zeitgei

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by jp102235 (923963)
          clausevitz, jomini, study them. To even ask the question of explaining morality in war suggests you might have thought there should be morality in war. I am sorry you got that impression. A short essay on my thoughts and others:
          War is an extension of politics - clausevitz. In the quest to get some power/people/entity to stop doing something (invading, destabilizing, living in some land you want) you must find a way (a policy) that convinces them (harasses them) such that continued pursuit of the policy you
          • by furball (2853)

            war was never meant to be moral

            Not even defensive wars? I mean if the Germans decided to invade France and France decides to fight for its own sovereignty, is France's war immoral? Should a nation capitulate because wars are immoral every time someone wants to invade and conquer them?

    • Re:Bad news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:54PM (#31664916)
      The difference between dropping a bomb from a UAV while you are driving it from in a trailer, and dropping a bomb while you are sitting at 25,000 feet and 15 miles away is not that much different. You still have no real 'connection' and you are still relying on intel from elsewhere.
      Specifically, a laser guided bomb (LGB) may be relying on a laser designator from someone else, not in your aircraft. This works for a regular A/C or a UAV. Drop within the basket, and someone else guides it in.

      And that intel/targeting may be from a competing warlord, wishing to take out his competition.
      • this.

      • Re:Bad news (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rich0 (548339) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:40PM (#31665292) Homepage

        I'd argue that there is far less likely for mishap in the UAV situation. You can afford to take your time a bit more before dropping the bomb, for one thing. With a manned bombing mission in a dangerous theater they will tend to fly in, reach their drop point, drop the bombs, and head out of there. Every second you linger in the target area is a chance to be killed - if the target is worth hitting chances are that it is worth defending, so the area right around the target is often the most dangerous area in the whole mission.

        On the other hand, with a UAV you can have one guy flying the thing (or it can be on autopilot), and you can have as many people as you like staring at the video feed making sure that everything looks ok before dropping the bomb. If in doubt you can just wait a little - ok, so maybe they get a missile or two off but you will probably still hit the target even if you don't make it out of there, and the loss of a UAV isn't a horrible thing.

        Plus you don't have nearly as much adrenaline pumping, which makes for more level-headed decisions.

        I think UAVs have a great deal of potential to cut down on battlefield errors.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by koan (80826)

          You obviously aren't familiar with how this works, you can't "take your time" often your target is only available for a short period of time and then quite often surrounded by "non targets".
          On the ground you can "take your time".

          Take comfort no one is targeting you...yet.

        • by nedlohs (1335013)

          I'm pretty sure losing a few $10 million drones because you wanted to be sure it was the right target and got shot down for your trouble is going to be "career limiting".

          Sure less motivation than "I might die", but still a motivation.

      • The most important part of this for the Pentagon is that there's no human cost to losing a UAV on the American side. There are no airfields with reporters to deal with - you're not going to allow a journalist on to an airforce base inside the control room for "security" purposes. The pussies who call themselves reporters don't go out of the green zone anymore, and it's hard to get anyone to care about a grainy video or far away sounding reports from foreign news sources. You can bomb the hell out of whomeve

    • Re:Bad news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pushing-robot (1037830) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:07PM (#31665036)

      These thing remove the human element to much

      People have been saying that since roughly the invention of the thrown rock. Do you honestly think that the bombardier looking out a glass window miles over the battlefield has any human connection with the targets below or "verification" of who he kills?

      If anything, being physically separated from the battlefield makes it harder to indiscriminately kill, as you have all the self-doubt and remorse but none of the adrenaline and self-preservation instincts. Killing becomes a lot easier—and you become a lot less discriminate—when you know somebody is actively trying to kill you.

    • Re:Bad news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Quarters (18322) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:11PM (#31665070)
      They said that when spears beat rocks. They said that when guns won against swords, spears, and bows. They said it when machine guns decimated rifle ranks. They said it when airplanes and tanks rolled or flew over the trenches. They said it when V1s and V2s were raining on London. They said it when the US nuked Hiroshima. They said it when the US adopted stealth, night vision and GPS, and on and on. Face it, technology wins wars and ensures safety for the side that has the better tech. War is as much a technological battle as it is a physical one.
      • by j1m+5n0w (749199)

        They said that when...

        And they were right. All of those things did de-humanize war (as if it were humanized to begin with). Of course winning is often more important than the human element, but we should think carefully about the trade-offs, so we can decide if it's worth it in any particular circumstance.

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:47PM (#31664832)
    And yet they still try to convince you that playing video games all day doesn't teach you any marketable skills!
  • Just wait until the commercial industry catches on. City 17 is coming, folks.
  • How about (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    They could develop a computer system which combines sensor input and calculates optimal control output. For resilience it should be distributed and connected through a network. A network for the sky controlling machines which terminate enemy combatants.

  • Knock knock (Score:5, Funny)

    by vandelais (164490) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:53PM (#31664910)

    Who's there?

    I kill you.

  • by tpstigers (1075021) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:06PM (#31665028)
    My capabilities are far outstripped by my wife's demands.
  • The US mil hacked and patched the system together as a passive look down system to light up targets.
    Rails for rockets where added later.
    The problem is the units are just prototypes on a production line.
    They fail early and just keep on pumping out more.
    Its going to catch up with the number of requests.
    Solution- outsource. Get Brazil, South Africa, France, England - any $ needing country with a US friendly airframe ready history to make the basics and get state side security-cleared mercenaries to snap
  • by dbIII (701233) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:43PM (#31665306)
    Put videogames that simulate the planes in trailer parks and recruit the kid with the highest score.
  • by DynaSoar (714234) on Monday March 29, 2010 @10:44PM (#31665832) Journal

    "The military is facing a number of challenges, including training, accessing national air space and improving aircraft communications systems..."

    And rehabilitation. For reasons not yet understood UAV remote pilots are suffering more burnout than most others, as well as PTSD to an extent that mystifies.

    • by fructose (948996) on Monday March 29, 2010 @11:31PM (#31666140) Homepage

      I can tell you the answer to that. They are facing stresses that a normal soldier isn't facing. A Predator pilot in Las Vegas has to fight a war for 10 hours a day and deal with all the stress that comes with that, AND THEN go home and deal with all the stress of family life. When deployed you 'turn off' after you fly and recover. Flying from home means you have to constantly deal with much more stress than normal. And you have to separate your military life from your family life even more. You can't talk about the problems you deal with at work with your wife because missions are classified. And you can't talk about your kid failing a math test because you are busy tracking a high priority target. No down time means no recovery. And add all to that this problems mentioned in the article above. Then to top it all off, good luck getting out of an unmanned plane. Without enough training, assignments are lasting much longer than normal. Pilots are getting called back from manned planes to fly drones. It's a no win situation for those who need a break.I did it for a while, and life is rough,

      I was a Predator pilot in the AF for 5 years, and I can tell you it's not a pretty picture.

      • by Nethead (1563) <joe@nethead.com> on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @01:18AM (#31666738) Homepage Journal

        Mod this +1e100 insightful. I'm away from home right now (in Tampa, no less. building a data center) so when I'm stressed because some piece of gear is borked I can just go back to the hotel and zone in the hot tub, quick call home, all is good, cool.

        But, if I was at home I'd have all the honey-do's and familial interactions (step-daughter in treatment, African Grey parrot, four cats, oh, and the wife, need to stack that firewood, the toilet downstairs is making a funny sound...) needing to be taken care of, and I couldn't get in the space I need to solve the problem, nor could I talk to my wife about the intricacies of the setup (like talking about classified.)

        It may be better to just put these pilots on some other base away from their families, a nice TDY, to let them deal with their job and give them the excuse to slack off on the family front for a while. Kind of a toss up. Give them the option, just don't let the spouse know whow asked for the TDY.

        What these remote pilots have to deal is so much more REAL and INTENSE than what you or I deal with, unless you are in combat, it is NOTHING, FUCKING NOTHING compared what these Airmen have to deal with.

        Sirs. My most humble thanks for your service! (this from an ex-USAF desk jockey, circa '79)

        -Joe

    • by Jeian (409916)

      If you're flying an A-10 or an F-15E, you get your target, you release your bomb/missile, you get confirmation and go home. When you're flying a UAV, you get your target, you release your bomb/missile, then you immediately see the results of what you did live on your sensor screen. And it's rarely pretty.

  • I wrote on this elsewhere: "Recognizing irony is key to transcending militarism"
    http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/1937-unnatural-acts-breaking-the-fever-of-militarism.html#comment-2450 [chris-floyd.com]
    and:
    "It's the unrecognized irony that kills you..."
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1590182&cid=31561028 [slashdot.org]
    """
    It is ironic that the technology that goes into such a missile, from the computers and materials to the social networks that plan and te

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