He sees dogfighting drones as the future

A retired Israel air chief said that unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are certainly becoming more ubiquitous, but until dogfights can be started between drones, they cannot yet replace manned jet fighters.

Maj. Gen. Eitan Ben Eliyahu, a former Israel Air Force commander, discussed dogfighting drones at an unmanned vehicles conference and air exhibition in Rishon Lezion, south of Tel Aviv on November 26. 

Dogfights are where fighter aircraft perform combat maneuvers at short range and are aware of each other's presence. According to Eliyahu, they're absolutely necessary before unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can replace traditional manned aircraft. 

Maj. Gen. Eitan Ben Eliyahu [SOURCE: Wikipedia]

“We pilots are the decision makers ... and the claim to fame of fighter pilots are dogfights. So in the future, part of the process of replacing jet fighters with UAVs will be the ability to start dogfights between drones,” said Eliyahu.

According to Eliyahu, air forces are largely trading in expensive fixed-wing and rotary aircraft, which saves on life-cycle and training costs. However, he believes UAVs cannot deter enemies well enough yet.

“UAVs will not contribute enough to deterrence to prevent war,” said Eliyahu. “When the F-35 is operational in Israel, it will have a dramatic effect on deterring our enemies. So even if we have hundreds of UAVs, it won’t impact the balance of power as much as a single squadron of F-35s.”

He added that UAVs are also more susceptible to cyber attacks because they run on networked control. 

Source: Defense News

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