Overwhelming Numbers: U.S. Air Force to Invest in Swarms of Cheap Disposable Combat Jets

Alongside efforts to develop high end heavyweight combat jets costing over 100 million dollars, from the Air Dominance Fighter and F-X sixth generation fighter programs to the B-21 Raider stealth bomber program, the U.S. Air Force is reportedly set to develop lighter combat jets which prioritise low cost and disposability.

To reduce loss of life and costs of pilot training, such aircraft will be unmanned – although it is uncertain whether the intention is to remotely pilot fleets of expendable drones or to develop a sufficiently capable artificial intelligence system to fly the aircraft. These aircraft can take risks manned fighters cannot, and could be used to wear out high end enemy air defence networks, overwhelm enemy fighters and carry out other tasks where high losses could be expected. Air Force officials speaking at the 2019 Defense News conference referred to plans for a fleet of “low-cost, single use aircraft,” although more details on the nature of these platforms and their capabilities have yet to be unveiled.

S-400 Surface to Air Missile Battery

The U.S. Air Force has in the past repurposed older aircraft such as F-4 Phantoms into disposable single use jets – at times using these as targets for its modern fighters and air to air missiles. It has been speculated in the past that these could potentially be used to overwhelm enemy air defences should a viable operating system be developed, with several thousand of these platforms currently in reserve and capable of being deployed to soften high value targets – possibly alongside high end fighter jets to lessen the dangers to more expensive manned aircraft.

It should not be ruled out, however, that entirely new aircraft could be developed for such a role. While high end U.S. drones can cost over $200 million each – over 250% as much as an F-35A stealth fighter – the possibility of developing expendable ones for a small fraction the price capable of effectively operating alongside fighter jets could be a game changer for the U.S. Air Force’s offensive capability. To take Russian air defences as an example – the S-300PMU-2 and S-400 systems are capable of engaging up to 32 and 80 aircraft simultaneously respectively, and require considerable time to reload between salvos.

While these hypersonic missile systems are potentially lethal against fourth generation American aircraft such as the F-15 and F-18 even at extreme ranges, able to cause unacceptable losses among both airmen and fighter jets particularly when operating as part of larger air defence networks, use of both expandable drones in combination with more survivable fifth and sixth generation fighters could be ideal for penetrating such defense networks.

Related Posts

Don’t miss it! The 5 fastest planes in history were dubbed “Speed Demons in the Sky”

Tһe Ϲoпсoгde’ѕ гeсoгd foг сгoѕѕ Αtɩапtіс сoммeгсіаɩ tгаʋeɩ һаѕ уet to Ƅe Ьeаteп, Ƅᴜt wһeп іt сoмeѕ to гаw ѕрeed tһeгe агe мапу аігсгаft tһаt woᴜɩd ɩeаⱱe…

Maximum Power: List the Top 10 Most Spectacular Pilot Carrier Takeoffs and Landings Ever! (Video)

For light aircraft, it is often used during full-рoweг takeoff. Large transport category (aircraft) aircraft мay use a reduced рoweг for takeoff where less than full рoweг…

A-37 Super Tweet: The Cessna is outfitted with a minigun that fires 3,000 rounds per minute (Video)

The A-37 Super Tweet was one of the few Aмerican aircraft that was first tested during actual coмƄat. As the Vietnaм wаг escalated in 1963 and Aмerican…

According to numerous sources, the Israeli X-Ad fiber optic towed decoy system will be installed on the Indian Su-30MKI.

IAF’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI is set to ɡet Rafael X-ɡᴜагd Fiber optic super sonic deсoу system. This system helps to evade Air to Air, Surface to Air Missiles…

advanced X-35B airplanes that served as the F-35’s prototype

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has proven to be the most advanced and most capable combat aircraft in service in the world today. It was…

The B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit exhibit their CRAZY capability when flying together

B-1 Lancer The B-1B Lancer is a long-range, multi-mission, supersonic conventional bomber, which has served the United States Air Force since 1985. The aircraft is on track…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *