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The F-35 JSF in all its glory
Lockheed has proposed a JSF that fly by remote control

Lockheed Martin’s new single-engine F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the latest Swiss Army Knife of fighter aircraft for the US military.  The plane, which is destined to replace the F-16, AV8-B, A-10 and F/A-18, will be available in three variants:

  • F-35A: Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL)
  • F-35B: Short Take-Off Vertical Landing (STOVL)
  • F-35C: Carrier Based Variant (CV)

Lockheed is now proposing a fourth variant that it has been working on for the past two years. The design proposal is for an unmanned version of the F-35 that could operate as a hybrid -- that is, it could be configured to either fly by remote or if need be with a human pilot in the cockpit. Many have stated that the F-35 would be the last manned fighter jet for the Air Force as the military has been pouring more and more dollars into unmanned combat systems. Lockheed's proposed unmanned J-35 would bridge the gap between the past and the future of aerial combat. From the Washington Post:

The Pentagon, looking to save money, has accelerated spending on unmanned systems since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. This year, it allocated $2 billion for unmanned aircraft and millions more in the supplemental budget, compared with $363 million in 2001. The figure is projected to reach more than $3 billion by the end of the decade. What has resulted is a hodgepodge of unmanned vehicles, such as small, bomb-seeking robots that can be carried in a backpack, and airplanes that provide surveillance for days at a time. The systems have become bigger and more expensive in recent years, such as the Predator, built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., and the Global Hawk, which has a 134-foot wingspan, comparable to the Boeing 737.

Lockheed has been playing second fiddle to other names in the industry, namely Boeing, when it comes to unmanned aircraft. The price tag of the F-35 program has also ballooned from $201 billion to $276 billion. The price increase along with the government's increasing fascination with unmanned drones is probably why the initial order for 2,000 planes could likely drop significantly in the near future.

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By shadowzz on 8/17/2006 11:57:08 AM , Rating: 4
Did I read a quarter of a TRILLION dollars on this thing?

RE: zomg
By Knish on 8/17/2006 11:58:43 AM , Rating: 2
RE: zomg
By Brandon Hill on 8/17/2006 11:59:15 AM , Rating: 2
That's for the entire program including 2,000 planes (at the moment) plus developmental costs IIRC.

RE: zomg
By GoatMonkey on 8/17/2006 1:20:01 PM , Rating: 2
I expect to see them build the SDF-1 for that kind of money.

RE: zomg
By NerV04 on 8/17/2006 1:47:00 PM , Rating: 2
and mayb a few veriteks? dont know if i spelt it right...

RE: zomg
By GoatMonkey on 8/17/2006 2:20:17 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly! I expect to see some freakin giant robots with lasers and a thousand missiles on their shoulders, with a super flying aircraft carrier that can also change into a freakin super giant robot and kick everyone's asses.

But no... all we get is a little stealth fighter. I guess it's ok. But man $250,000,000,000,000.00 holy crap!

RE: zomg
By glennpratt on 8/17/2006 2:34:24 PM , Rating: 2
Umm, now I don't know where you went to school but where I went 250 billion dollars looks like this: $250,000,000,000

RE: zomg
By GoatMonkey on 8/17/2006 2:44:21 PM , Rating: 2
Hah... I thought it said 250 trillion. Same difference though, huge amount of money.

RE: zomg
By thegrimreaper3 on 8/17/2006 8:58:46 PM , Rating: 2
Well if you think about it the government buys nails at $5 or whatever it was so you can only imagine how much an aircraft is!

RE: zomg
By Dustin25 on 8/17/2006 2:17:57 PM , Rating: 3
Everyone knows the J-10 owns the f-35. Cherry busted hymen ftw!

RE: zomg
By Lord 666 on 8/17/2006 9:38:10 PM , Rating: 2
Why such surprise, this is using proven technology as it was used on 9/11 to pilot the planes.

Of course DoD increased spending on unpiloted planes after 9/11 because their Proof of Concept worked tremendously well.

RE: zomg
By Nfarce on 8/17/06, Rating: 0
RE: zomg
By Lord 666 on 8/17/06, Rating: -1
RE: zomg
By johnsonx on 8/18/2006 12:38:07 AM , Rating: 3

RE: zomg
By TomZ on 8/18/06, Rating: -1
RE: zomg
By Lord 666 on 8/18/2006 12:54:27 AM , Rating: 1
I was actually in NYC on 9/11/2001, where were you?!

Not to get personal, but to sheepishly believe the US Government story (full of holes perpetuated by mindless "patriots") when this article PROVES the aerospace engineers have the technology to pull it off... then not to question is more disgraceful and disrespectful to those no longer with us.

RE: zomg
By TomZ on 8/18/06, Rating: -1
RE: zomg
By Lord 666 on 8/18/2006 1:37:10 AM , Rating: 3
Likewise, there is no factual proof 19 amatuers hijacked planes on 9/11. A passport that somehow survived fire and collapsing of the WTC buildings? Some blurry footage of people taking money out at a ATM machine? A split second video showing something appearing in front of the Pentagon?

For every "fact" that suggests it was genuinely terrorists who did this, there are conflicting forensic items that dispute the events. What about the FAA tapes that are still classified showing the flight patterns? Firefighter recordings that state the fire was under control and "small." Firefighter recordings that are still classified. Seismographs showing explosion like activity. The very fact that all of the remains of WTC were sent to scrap yards and not forensically analyzed. The fact that several of the named terrorists have been found to be still living. First and only time steel buildings collapsed because of fire.

RE: zomg
By johnsonx on 8/18/2006 5:19:14 AM , Rating: 2
my oh my, you've been drinking LOTS of the kool-aid, haven't you?

RE: zomg
By Chillin1248 on 8/18/2006 6:29:44 AM , Rating: 3
You know something asshole, I was in NYC staring out at the burning towers as well. So don't make it like your the only god of this forum who saw 9/11.

You are so full of conspiracy nonesense it is almost funny if it weren't so sad.You take a line from "V from Vandetta", then take another from Metal Gear Solid in the form of "Patriots", and then to top it off you read into everything that the "Loose Change" video said. I suggest you search for "Loose Change Lies", maybe that will teach you some common sense. But kids like you need to feel that they are superior and "in the know" while everyone around them are idiots, so I doubt anything will convince you no matter how concrete the proof; so I am not going to bother.

RE: zomg
By Shoal07 on 8/18/2006 10:21:55 AM , Rating: 2
It really is insane when a bunch of terrorist hijackers from around the world hijack multiple planes and crash them into skyscrapers and THAT isn't big enough of a conspiracy... No, idiots have to make one up that invovles government remote controlled planes. Plain stupid.

Some people need to leave mommy and daddy's basement and get some fresh air.

RE: zomg
By My Croft on 8/21/2006 1:41:36 PM , Rating: 2
Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory.

RE: zomg
By Lord 666 on 8/18/2006 10:47:32 AM , Rating: 2
Just stating a fact that I was in NYC that day and will never disrespect those parted from us without getting personal. Immediately after 9/11, I too wanted to go get those "terrorists" responsible. However, as the years went on, there are now more questions than answers revolving around that day. There has not been any concrete proof from the government about 9/11 nor any capture of Bin Laden in five years. But articles like this one make it technologically feasible to accomplish what has been earlier suggested. Even the wording of this article are perculiar, "The Pentagon, looking to save money, has accelerated spending on unmanned systems since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks" Would having these JSFs prevented 9/11? Would having pilotless aircraft aided domestic security? Neither would have done anything. Maybe if all commercial aircraft are required to have this remote control capability, then an event like this can be prevented.

Correct, that line from "V for Vendetta" was very fitting and thats why I used it. Don't understand the "Patriots" reference, this term was pounded into our heads by our government immediately after 9/11... Patriot Act, etc Saw "Loose Change" and searching for your "Loose Change Lies" at your suggestion. But from what I have found so far, the disputes of "Loose Change" are very weak.

The forensic items I mention have been brought to light by several sources, including mainstream media. There are facts within "Loose Change" but there is ancedotal information as well.

RE: zomg
By dgingeri on 8/18/2006 12:50:41 PM , Rating: 2
You know what? There are no more questions about 9/11 except those raised by the anti-Bush people who want to come up with something thay can pin on Bush as being evil. Guess what? There already is one thing, his cooperation with the banking and credit card industries. Call him evil for that, but he did not plan or cause 9/11.

I have seen "V for Vendetta" and you know what I saw? I saw the far leftists trying to destroy the democratic process by producing hate filled, closed minded sheep that protest the protection of innocents by both the US in Iraq and Israel in Lebanon. The people who were being killed by the US and Israel in the middle east are the very people who were supporting the terrorists who were killing innocent civilians in Isreal, Iraq, and the US. The far leftists, who want power so bad they can taste it, are willing to lie about anything just so they can overthrow the properly elected people who actually will defend the people being victimized by tyrants. You want to hate manipulators? Take a look to the left.

RE: zomg
By The Cheeba on 8/19/2006 10:38:07 AM , Rating: 2
by the anti-Bush people who want to come up with something thay can pin on Bush as being evil.

There doesn't need to be a conspiracy for Bush to be evil. We're better off without him.

RE: zomg
By dgingeri on 8/18/2006 12:41:51 PM , Rating: 2
Why such surprise, this is using proven technology as it was used on 9/11 to pilot the planes.

What kind of retard actually believes the US government committed the acts on 9/11?? I don't care how much of a conspiracy nut you are, that is beyond belief at any level of intelligence. Any human being would have to turn off about 90% of their usable brain to believe that. Hello 35IQ.

RE: zomg
By jmunjr on 8/18/2006 1:15:44 PM , Rating: 2
I don't believe it, but it is plausible. The assumption/belief that our own government is "good" and would never directly harm their own people is irresponsible. Even our Founding Fathers recognized this and put rules in place to protect citizens from our government. The problem is those rules were not good enough, and our citizens have become so complacent and reliant on our government that the likelihood of horrible acts against the people in order to gain more power is now a possibility, if not already a reality.

Thinking your government could never do a thing like 9/11 really is irresponsible. You don't have to believe it happened, but you should believe it could happen.

RE: zomg
By TomZ on 8/18/2006 1:24:59 PM , Rating: 2
I don't trust our government either, but I also don't think they would be evil enough to murder thousands of its own citizens either. I also cannot think of any even remotely reasonable motive that the government would have in doing something like this.

RE: zomg
By jmunjr on 8/18/2006 1:46:26 PM , Rating: 2
There isn't a reasonable motive for murdering civilians, at least in a good person's mind. Acquisition of power is reason enough for some however. I think it is a stretch that the WTC was targeted by our government, but I certainly think there are MANY within our government who would support such actions. Get enough of these scum in the right paces with the right resources and some bad things can happen. Do it enough and the snowball gets bigger..

RE: zomg
By Chillin1248 on 8/18/2006 3:45:20 PM , Rating: 3
Here are two sources:

This one debunks the "Loose Change" video:

This one debunks a number of 9/11 myths. Such as:

fact that steel melts at 1525° C, and although jet fuel burns only at 825° C, it doesn't have to burn hot enough to melt to cause the buildings to collapse, since steel loses 50% of its strength at 648 ° C

RE: zomg
By Lord 666 on 8/18/2006 4:27:30 PM , Rating: 2
What about the FAA tapes that are still classified showing the flight patterns? Firefighter recordings that state the fire was under control and "small." Firefighter recordings that are still classified that actually reached the crash area. The very fact that all of the remains of WTC were sent to scrap yards and not forensically analyzed. The fact that several of the named terrorists have been found to be still living. First and only time steel buildings collapsed because of fire.

The PM article addresses none of the above. Also disappointed the PM series does not have larger pictures.

RE: zomg
By Chillin1248 on 8/18/2006 8:17:28 PM , Rating: 3
What is there to forensically investigate in the rubble? Hell a number of peices of the WTC are still around, if you want to test them so bad go ahead.

What about the tapes? Government property that will be released in the future, they certainly don't "hide" something. Do you think the government if it was able to put thousands of pounds of TNT in the WTC without anyone noticing, would have taken down the few cameras on the route the plane was going to fly?

Isn't it interesting that "classified" material somehow is in the hands of every person and more incredibly it incriminates the government? First of all does anyone know the original source of the supposed fire fighter tapes? Second, they were probably talking about the stairwell area around them for evacuation and not the entire floor... I mean we saw it burning ourselves.

Where is the source for the supposedly living terrorists?

First and only time a steel building has been hit by a 767 with a full load of fuel onboard.

RE: zomg
By a1trips on 8/18/2006 10:02:07 PM , Rating: 2
First , err i believe the government was implictly involved, not explicitly. But then i have a brain and i remember how pearl harbor was an "engineered situation", just like 9/11.. Ya think those schmucks up top don't read history?

AND i sincerely hope i do not need to clarify.heh

==> this goes out to all the " get some kool aid types"

RE: zomg
By johnsonx on 8/19/2006 12:45:49 PM , Rating: 2
you've been sipping on the kool-aid too, haven't you?

RE: zomg
By Lord 666 on 8/19/2006 12:58:58 AM , Rating: 2
Yet both of the twin towers were designed to survive the impact of a Boeing 707, which was the largest airplane of the era.

Comparing the 707 and 767, both aircraft are similar with their capacities... with the 707 having a faster top speed.

Even if Leslie miscalculated the fuel or velocity variables, consider this... a US Bomber B-25 did run into the Empire State building between the 79 and 80th floors at 300mph. The fire was put out in 40 minutes and the building stayed intact.

Yes, the B-25 is much smaller than a 767, but that is not the perculiar aspect; both towers have this gaping flery hole on their side. The south tower was hit much lower than the north. However, when both collapsed, they fell down very symmetrically just as planned demolitions occur and occured exactly the same. Yet, the South Tower would have had a greatly probability to tilt, lean, or hit another building since the impact was lower. You state that steel weakens by 50% around 648C. Focusing on the the physics, this would imply the collapses would not be symmetrical and have building distortion as the building heated up. Moving back to metallurgy, there was molten material flowing from the building prior to the collapse of white/yellow color being seen visible for up to one month. That is not Al, but some variation of Fe!

But this discussion wouldn't be complete without discussing Building 7 which is the only steel building in the world to collapse due to fire, again collapsing very symmetrically as in a controlled demolition. No asterick on this building saying it was hit by a plane, there wasn't any impact to it, just supposedly a fire internally that somehow started.

Is it really a surpise that half of New Yorkers polled feel that the US Government knew of the attacks but did not act?

RE: zomg
By NT78stonewobble on 8/19/2006 7:56:30 PM , Rating: 2
As far as i remember it was designed to be able to withstand the impact of a 707 with next to zero fuel on board and / or not moving at full speed.

Over half the mass of a liner is made up of fuel as far as I know.

Besides a dildo might also be designed to give satisfaction but it is not guaranteed.

Additionally you cannot really compare the the empire state building to the twin towers. Not from a construction point of view.

You say that the south tower would have a tendency to fall to a side.

No, the buildings weight were carried in the core. It was that which failed and pulled the rest of the building down with it. On the spot and centered.

You mention that building 7 like it somehow proves your case. Actually the way you describe it it just proves that the theory of jet fuel burning inside near the structural core is quite possibly correct.

RE: zomg
By Googer on 8/20/2006 12:24:49 AM , Rating: 2
Did I read a quarter of a TRILLION dollars on this thing?

Yes, and at that price it is a real bargain. Once they get mass production working in full steam the price per each air craft will drop eponetialy.

When it comes to air dominance the F-22 is the king of the skies. F22s perfromance and capability (minus the VTOL) is far superior to the f35JS;F It's (F22) price tag has scared off many in Washington. But proponents of the F22 argue that it should built and ordered in large numbers. Airforce Officals (Proponents) of the F-22 say that if it were produced in large numbers its total cost would not be much higher than that of the F35 JSF.

The F22 easily guanentees American Air Dominiance for the next twienty years at minimum.

By R Nilla on 8/17/2006 12:01:33 PM , Rating: 2
so is the future of the military really going to be like the movie "Toys" ?

RE: Toys
By The Cheeba on 8/17/2006 12:12:10 PM , Rating: 2
I certainly wouldn't be against kids with robots fighting each other as opposed to kids with suicide bombs.

By the way LL Cool J was badass in that movie.

RE: Toys
By rrsurfer1 on 8/17/2006 1:07:10 PM , Rating: 3
A lot of the current military spending is going into making our forces remote-control. Whoever has this type of technology would really change the face of warfare.

The main thing that worries me is that this will change the social effects of war. Instead of losing men in combat, our side will have only machine casualties, and machines can be rebuilt. Therefore the major deterrent to war is gone (as long as it stays off our soil). And since all this technology costs money to develop, you can bet some very powerful people are going to want it put to use, to sell and service more of these war-machines. Big dollars involved. A good time to be an engineer at one of the many companies doing this type of development. A bad time to be a country without this type of technology, who will be taking human losses to our machines.

RE: Toys
By TomZ on 8/17/06, Rating: 0
RE: Toys
By rrsurfer1 on 8/17/2006 1:42:10 PM , Rating: 2
If they are mobile enough - maybe. But the bottom line is you take away the ability of the Hezbollah and other's to inflict human casualties. So there's nothing stopping us from being in there years with our machines until every last man is hunted down, or we get tired of spending money replacing hardware.

RE: Toys
By R Nilla on 8/17/2006 1:29:48 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder how easily the "remotes" can be jammed, or taken over and turned on its owners, since that would pretty much render the remote-controlled machines useless or more dangerous...

RE: Toys
By rrsurfer1 on 8/17/2006 1:40:00 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I work in that field and I can tell you that the anti-jamming measures that we have available are pretty good. The problem is, to jam a signal you need to know frequency, and you need to have a signal strong enough to interfer with the real transmission, enough to overcome robust error-correction. Today's military communications switch frequencies constantly, and adjust to jamming by leaving out frequencies with too much noise. In addition, packet based comms send only short burst of data at as high a power as possible, from satellites. Antennae are made to be directional enough that signals received outside the area of interest are weak.

And you can forget about anyone taking over the units. The encryption in mil-spec radios is too high and it's unlikely it will be broken.

RE: Toys
By Griswold on 8/17/2006 1:52:30 PM , Rating: 2
Lets paint an ugly picture. Your army of robots, marching towards the enemy who knows full well that he cant win this fight. Now lets assume this enemy does have nuclear capability. He may not use that option when facing a humanoid army in fear of retaliation (you drop a nuke on, lets say, an american force and you'll get your ass handed to you on the nuclear platter, thats for sure).

But in this scenario he only faces drones/robots. He drops a nuke or two on the advancing force. Or maybe instead of just melting everything to a pulp, he uses the EMP of such a weapon. In fact, what about EMP resistance? You can harden electronics, but only to a certain degree I would think.

RE: Toys
By rrsurfer1 on 8/17/2006 2:23:01 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting picture. However the military rarely bunches up forces like this. It would be hard to hit them all at once. Most military electronics are hardened against EMP to some extent. Usually not enough to take a direct "hit" but enough that some would survive.

Besides that, there's nothing stopping us from sending more machines in.

The upside of this is no loss of human life - here's another picture for ya. Your in a war against an enemy, a dictatorship where the dictator will do anything to retain power. He has nukes and you know he will use them, but he must be removed from power. This dictator won't care about America's nuclear deterrent because he's going to lose his power anyhow. Without these remote controlled forces, we would not only lose human life, but almost be forced to respond in kind to the nuclear attack. With them, we can simply replace them, remove the dictator, and save countless innocent lives.

RE: Toys
By Griswold on 8/17/2006 2:51:16 PM , Rating: 2
Well, for one, there are tactical nuclear weapons built just for that purpose. If you invade a country, you'll have to move your units and you dont send them in one by one.
So, you can most definitely take out large quantities of any type of unit by means of nuclear weapons. You just better hit them before they're at your city gates.

The whole point was, it could actually further lower the inhibition threshold to use nuclear weapons. Even today, brass heads are eager to use small nukes for all kinds of purposes with the excuse that they would not annihilate whole cities or landscapes - thankfully, that hasnt happened yet.

But whos going to shed a tear for a bunch of robots somewhere in a desert? Makes it easier to ignore the local and global environmental effects of such use of weapons.

To respond to your scenario:

Such a madman would probably not waste much time on nuking robots if he realizes that it has no effect on the outcome. Instead, he will just blow up some neighbors - as seen in Bush vs. Saddam part I. Granted, that could happen no matter how you kick his ass. Be it robots or todays conventional forces.

And as far as saving countless lives is concerned, that would mainly be a one sided thing, as the use of nukes will cost many lives in the long term in that region.

RE: Toys
By DigitalFreak on 8/17/2006 1:41:12 PM , Rating: 2
No, more like "Stealth".

RE: Toys
By ChugokuOtaku on 8/17/2006 1:49:33 PM , Rating: 2
don't you get it? it's all about EDI

By Nik00117 on 8/17/2006 12:01:04 PM , Rating: 2
Thats not per plane, tahts for the development of the plane. Think of this you can place 5 of those on patrol in a country flying around the borders for days at a time, also maintance would in the long term be lower because you don't gotta worry about anyone inside the plane getting hurt because of imporper equipment.

RE: Wicked
By Knish on 8/17/2006 12:02:47 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention better performance. You can turn 8Gs and not worry about the human cargo. UAVs are the way to go IMHO

RE: Wicked
By Griswold on 8/17/2006 1:42:48 PM , Rating: 2
I would think the airframe can take much more than 8G. Even current manned planes can do, albeit very short due to human limits, 9G maneuvers.

And that is the absolute main advantage of UAV's - you can outperform any manned opponent, even if that other jet has superior maneuverability

RE: Wicked
By rrsurfer1 on 8/17/2006 1:52:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, nothing stopping them from reaching multiples of 8G. Most of the limitation is human. Structurally, they can build far beyond the human limits. Especially if the stress is only for fractions of a second, such as a correcting turn, or burst of acceleration.

RE: Wicked
By Garreye on 8/17/2006 2:37:11 PM , Rating: 2
Ya they're just gonna need people who got the micro to control them...

RE: Wicked
By Burning Bridges on 8/17/2006 4:43:10 PM , Rating: 2
Heh, now that would be a cool job =)

pretty much.
By Armorize on 8/17/2006 12:00:09 PM , Rating: 2
on top of this plane being added to the us arsenal, its going to a couple of our allies as well, mainly the uk and australia. also this plane is by all means NOT going to replace the A-10. however if it is made to be a UAV i could see it possible.

RE: pretty much.
By Knish on 8/17/2006 12:01:43 PM , Rating: 2
It's true, the A-10, aside from being built like a tank, can loiter over the theater. The only logical replacement for the A-10 coming up is a UAV.

RE: pretty much.
By kextyn on 8/17/2006 2:41:09 PM , Rating: 2
That's why the A-10's service life has been extended untill at least 2028. Don't expect to ever see a proper replacement for the A-10 either, it just won't happen in this day and age.

Best. Plane. Ever.
By therealnickdanger on 8/17/2006 4:04:37 PM , Rating: 2
I love the A-10, it's such a beast! The GE gattling gun just RIPS UP anything it touches.... radical.

RE: pretty much.
By FNG on 8/17/2006 4:09:57 PM , Rating: 2
I suppose you are right, if you are looking for a flat out replacement. Even though it was supposed to be decommissioned many moons ago, it just kicks arse. That being said, I think the reason for not "replacing" it is because unmanned drones can do it cheaper and better.

I remember reading something saying that some DARPA funded contractors are building UCAVs that will loiter for up to 15 hours. Beat that in an A10. The pilot has to piss sometime. No waiting...just paint, and splat, or send coordinates and splat, whatever. I would bet something cool like the laser or some form of GPS system will be built into future personal weapon systems so you can just click a button, agree in your HUD and watch the fireworks. Ah, thinking of blowing stuff up gives me a chubby.

This is the Future
By Master Kenobi on 8/17/2006 2:11:01 PM , Rating: 2
This most certaintly is the future of modern warfare. It will eventually come to the point where we can have floating anti-grav bots patrol whole countries and take out problems with terrorist groups, they wont be able to walk outside without being locked and fired upon.

In the short term however, this will basically give us the iron grip of Air superiority, not like we dont already have it, but this will allow quicker response (no need to prep the pilots and get em suited up, just give the launch command and planes are in the air in seconds), we could increase our military presence tenfold if we didn't have to worry about as many casualties, and didn't have to spend time conditioning pilots, training would also become alot easier/cheaper. A Mounted short range anti-missile laser would also work wonders on one of these planes, just fly a dozen of them on the Israeli border, let hezbollah shoot rockets all day long, and knock every one of em out of the sky, all with electronic precision, and no risk to our soldiers.

This is the Future, and were just getting started.

RE: This is the Future
By Griswold on 8/17/2006 2:27:46 PM , Rating: 2
Let's just hope the future does not render humans totally obsolete. Antigrav bots.. heh that reminds me of a certain movie trilogy. ;)

You know, first they are unmanned but still piloted by man. Next they act according to a program without outside influence. Then they wont have to follow a strict program and make their own combat decisions - and then...

Science fiction can be so scary.

RE: This is the Future
By rrsurfer1 on 8/17/2006 2:38:51 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's almost inevitable. To compete with the remote control variety more effectively, you can increase response times using computers.

At first this would be subtle, say a laser system that automatically defend the remote controlled "bot" from missile attacks. Then less subtle, like auto-targeting and destuction of a known type of enemy tank. Someone builds one, another country builds a better one, and so on and so forth.

Inevitably this would seem to lead to less and less human control. I don't know if there will be artificial intelligence, at least within our lifetime. But you can bet there will be fuzzy-logic control systems on some new weapons to respond faster than any human ever could.

RE: This is the Future
By Chillin1248 on 8/18/2006 6:42:40 AM , Rating: 3
Actually these would not work in a conflict like just happened here with Hezbollah.

The problem is that when you launch over 4,000 missiles, usually in groups of 5 or so, it is very hard to target all of them in time. Also the way the current lasers work, which is why you only see them mounted on a 767 or larger, is that they need a gigantic chemical tank needed for the mixing of the correct chemicals to make the laser strong and hot enough. If you would mount this on a plane the size of a F-35, you would at best only get out of it roughly a second or two burst of laser energy and that is all... Highly impractical if you ask me.

The Golden Age of Aviation is Over!
By GTaudiophile on 8/18/2006 8:24:44 AM , Rating: 2
Long live those who have "The Right Stuff"...Chuck Yeager, Neil Armstrong, etc...real pilots!

RE: The Golden Age of Aviation is Over!
By Master Kenobi on 8/18/2006 8:45:42 AM , Rating: 2
Well what you need to understand is that while these planes can be unmanned, they will likely have someone sitting in an AWACS at high altitude actually controlling the plane, so real pilots will still be necessary, just you will be able to make manuvers you never thought possible, and if you get shot down, not as big a deal, just link into a new fighter and away you go. Granted its costly to lose a fighter, but it costs more to raise a person, train them, give them experience and give them medical treatment. This way we just need to replace a metal machine and those only take a few months.

By Ringold on 8/18/2006 6:07:42 PM , Rating: 2
"Real" pilots wont be necessary; any high schooler will probably have the skill necessary to control one of these UAVs with training, and not the block-buster budget fighter pilot training necessary for 'real' pilots.

I see real pilots remaining in commercial carriers for quite a long time simply as system managers and emergency pilots for situations where they end up having to fly dead stick -- which does happen. There will always probably be a human at least at the ready to manually take over any kind of passenger flight, but thats somewhat relative anyway. Autopilots can already take off, fly a complex route, and land all on their own. :)

Military wise though, to compare a fellow geek in a dimly lit compound inside a mountain or some place that can do the job with zero risk to their own personal safety to Yeager and even astronauts is almost an insult to them personally :P

By TomZ on 8/18/2006 10:08:31 AM , Rating: 2
Long live the new "right stuff" - the software within!

come again?
By kattanna on 8/17/2006 12:00:38 PM , Rating: 1
The Pentagon, looking to save money, has accelerated spending do you save money by accelerating spending??

RE: come again?
By Brandon Hill on 8/17/2006 12:03:59 PM , Rating: 2
Saving money by dropping the purchase numbers on expensive F-35s and incresing spending on MUCH cheaper drones.

Just a thought ;)

RE: come again?
By kattanna on 8/17/2006 12:13:02 PM , Rating: 2
i was shooting for humor

aka military intelligence...saving money by accelerating spending...

RE: come again?
By strikermlc on 8/17/2006 8:51:38 PM , Rating: 2
Dropping the purchase numbers doesn't save any money - it just increases the cost per unit! Ever heard of research and development? Those expenses don't disappear just because the government decides to buy fewer planes.

Politician: "Hey lockheed, how much for 2,000 JSF's?"
Lockheed: "276 billion"
Politician: "Hmm, how much for 1,500 JSF's?"
Lockheed: "270 billion"
Politician: "Sweet, I just saved the American Taxpayer 6 billion dollars. That'll buy me a lot of votes in the next election!"

In the end, politicians simply give us less bang for our buck under the pretense of saving us money...

By Ringold on 8/17/2006 5:18:53 PM , Rating: 2
Some of you seem to work in the field or have extra insight, so curious what feedback I'll get..

Two problems, one moral, one strategic.

1) If anybody looks at the list of contractors it becomes immediately clear that war or the breakdown of current alliances would make production of the F-35 impossible. Excluding that, even a serious strike against a major contributor, like England, would mean serious supply chain problems. Am I the only one that thinks this is insane to have the ability to replenish our own forces being beholden to other coutnries that could essentially stop shipments of vital finished parts and sections if their government disagreed with our own? What about these UAVs, are they in a similar situation with contractors? Would it be worth it to have our own isolated defense complex?

2) The moral issue. War is avoided and diplomatic deals are brokered because war is hell. There was an episode of The Original Series that dealt with this. When war no longer means body bags for the US, the slipery slope becomes all the more slick. Meanwhile, opponents win the hearts of their homelands in these middle eastern countries because of two reasons: a chunk of metal is no replacement for a human face, and it looks exactly what it is: cowardly. Where is the line drawn? Is it right to remotely control some device, drop a bomb, kill some civilians as often as the enemy, and then get up from your computer game-like job and have a beer at the bar?

I have a feeling enemies wont have such moral qualms, if we didn't have UAVs then Russia and China would start running circles around our manned aircraft and we'd hear from laughing clear from Moscow, but I at least think it'll be important for our generation to keep in mind. War hasn't touched us but for one day, in one small place, since the Civil War for the most part. Even as it is today, does it feel like we're at war in Walmart?

RE: Problems
By rrsurfer1 on 8/17/2006 8:01:22 PM , Rating: 2
To the first question - The nature of global economy and also research into these advanced weapons systems often requires expertise of countries other than the U.S. Sure we could do it all ourselves... probably, but it would take longer, and probably be even more costly.

To the second - Just like you stated, I think it is inevitable that other countries will develop these unmanned weapons, it's already occuring. We either have to keep up or risk not being on a level playing field. In an ideal world we could all just get along, unfortunetely we don't live in that world.

I don't know where you draw the line. I do know, that if we could fight the war in Iraq with no human losses on the US side, we would have. And that seems to be the direction everything is going.

RE: Problems
By Ringold on 8/18/2006 6:17:48 PM , Rating: 2
Every time a commander on the ground on Iraq forces his soldiers to present a more human face (making sure their faces are clearly visible, no sunglasses or goggles or masks, knocking on doors instead of knocking them down, etc) more success is seen, and cases of that get reported weekly. Last one I read was in Newsweek, in Ramadi, something like a 30% drop compared to neighboring areas. A robot doing that kind of human job would just create an even deeper hatred, would it not? Cowards, they'd call us, and since its not a traditional "force on force" conflict, wouldn't it be true? How could steel win "hearts and minds"? And it cant be denied success can be had without that.

On the economic issue though, thats true, the costs would possibly skyrocket, but it definitely wouldn't be impossible. Some of it could pay for itself indirectly as well if we kept the door open for slightly used military tech being released to private industry for whatever use the tech may have. To do that now we'd have to get all of Europe it seems to agree to releasing secret military tech. Strategically, I guess it's just a matter of preference, but I'd think the higher cost would be worth being absolutely invulnerable to the whim of our fairweather allies.. Same allies that wanted peace in Lebanon but are now too big of cowards in the face of Madrid and London's attacks to actually commit troops. Great allies!

By DLeRium on 8/17/2006 3:49:31 PM , Rating: 2
It's quite interesting that the USAF is getting quite outdated. F-16s today and F-18s are no match. Even the F-16s with block 60 upgrades are no match for modern fighters. F-15s are having trouble competing with planes like the Tornado and Rafale. Sure the F-22 is supposed to kick @$$ but they run at what.. 200 million a piece? The F-35 is estimated at 40 million which is more than an F-15, but its capabilities definitely are quite good.

And to everyone who thinks this is a stealth fighter, it's not. The F-22 is stealth. F-35 has stealth capabilities and enhancements that make it stealthy, but it was never built as a stealth fighter. It's stealth capabilities could never match the F-22, and so this will never replace the F-22.

By Master Kenobi on 8/17/2006 4:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
The F-22 is an Airforce only deal. The F-35 is specifically to replace the mainsteam fighter/bombers. Carrier based or ground based and mass produced. The F-22 is more of a stealth interceptor, that while pricy goes the job it was meant to do.

The F-22's fly in ahead of the rest, takes out critical systems, radar, AA, launch sites, enemy airforce bases, and then the F-35's mop up en-masse taking out Bridges, highways, buildings, railroads, power plants, oil refineries, military installations, etc.....

Idealy thats how it should work, but you can supplement the F-22's with B-2's for heavier bombing loadouts for the larger targets, and of course the F-22 will be unmatched in Air to Air combat, won't even know its there until long after its blown your sorry ass out of the sky.

The F-35 is definately more of a mainstream aircraft to replace our aging F-15's, F-16's, and F-18's. The F-22 is in a world of its own.

Remote control planes huh?
By exdeath on 8/17/2006 5:43:59 PM , Rating: 1
// create a view of the play field and connect it to the 'game'
pView = GameFactory::CreateGameView();
pView.ConnectRemoteGameState( new GameStateAdapter(pPentagonCPU) );

// search for a JSF entity and take control of it
GameFactory::JSFEntity * pJSF = pView.FindFirstEntity("JSF");

// assign control of entity to the local player

RE: Remote control planes huh?
By exdeath on 8/17/2006 5:45:50 PM , Rating: 2
Meh I'm so dead right now... just ignore the . and -> mixups :P

RE: Remote control planes huh?
By Regs on 8/17/2006 9:34:35 PM , Rating: 1
It would make a good Simpsons ep at best.

By mrgq912 on 8/18/2006 12:25:22 PM , Rating: 2
why is the government spending so much on technology that is going to be useless againsn't the guerilla tactics of "terrorists".

Granted unmanned commericial vehicals is good safety feature to prevent incidence like 911 but to have unmanned fighter planes worth billions is not smart.

If they are going to spend billions in something why not NASA. We once were the only nation with superior space techn. Now europe and china are gaining ground. We should be building more efficeint ways to get into space and back from it. Thats were we should innovate.

RE: why
By The Cheeba on 8/19/2006 10:43:34 AM , Rating: 2
Although I feel the majority of what our government spends on defense is ludicris, I do think that deterents are important. Even if you do not use a weapon, it is useful to have it around -- the walk softly philosophy.

Unfortunately, instead of walking softly and carrying a big stick, we (the US) run around like idiots and wave our big stick.

too much programming
By GoatMonkey on 8/17/2006 12:59:28 PM , Rating: 3
I was expecing an article about Java Server Faces.

By Razta on 8/17/2006 2:04:52 PM , Rating: 2
Speaking of A-10, why not a refresh that to unmanned?

There are a bunch of them just sitting here in Arizona.

The heck?
By Lothar on 8/18/2006 12:50:56 AM , Rating: 2
Who would need UAV fighters when you can have your own unmanned bombers?

By MIDIman on 8/18/2006 8:05:41 AM , Rating: 2
"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
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