Oh Goodie, The Air Force Wants To Make Its Drones Deadlier And More Autonomous

by 2 years ago
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America’s drone program is already the world’s deadliest, most efficient, deadliest, and deadliest.

But like… what if it was more deadly?

That’s what people in the United States Air Force are wondering (the right questions imo), and lucky for them, they have the full support and banking of the United States government. So whether it is a bad idea is not up for debate. America’s drones are gonna get better at state-sanctioned murder.

Kill harder, I always say.

Oh, and as we make them more deadly, we are also going to make them more autonomous. Because. From Government Executive:

Today, the United States operates armed drones like the General Atomics Predator and Reaper primarily in what’s called permissive environments — places like Syria or Iraq where the enemy lacks the weapons to bring down a drone flying at 50,000 feet. But the military has long thought such aircraft to be “useless” against against decent air defenses with radar, interceptor missiles, or aircraft.

In June, the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board completed a study (the first of three) that suggested the Air Force could modify the Reaper to be at least somewhat useful against a well-defended enemy, the board’s chair, Werner J.A. Dahm, told reporters Monday.

It can kill people in the Middle East, but not in China, is basically what that boils down to. And what good is a drone that can only kill some of the world’s population?

Not a fucking good drone at all, I say. So to stop our drones from being such pussies, the Air Force want to upgrade the shit outta the fleet.

To prepare the Reaper for tougher fights, the committee recommended giving it a radar warning receiver and other improvements for situational awareness — “things that allow you to have some ability to understand when the aircraft is being painted by an adversary system,” said Dahm.

But better eyes and ears won’t have a big effect unless those sensors are matched by upgrades to the ground cockpits, or control stations, that allow operators to steer drones, select targets, and fire at them, Dahm said.

So yah, let’s do that, too.

The Air Force is looking at ways to improve the operator interface. Reaper maker General Atomics has made a new ground control station called the Cockpit Block 50 Ground Control Station that’s supposed to be rolled out in the next four years. It features a more video-game-like controller and would replace the down display with a touchscreen map.

These improvements — better sensors and a better user experience for pilots that allows them to access more data in a way that’s not mentally overwhelming— are also key to increasing a drone’s autonomy.

Yay! Are you jazzed? Even more high-tech, more kill-focused robots? Are you not jazzed? The Air Force is jazzed.

If those components all come together, the Air Force will be able to send the Reaper on a much wider variety of missions and put the MQ-9’s 3,000-pound payload to broader use. “They have enough size, weight and power to run” a much wider variety of weapons, said Dahl.

Unnnh nah yea, kill kill kill.


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