Live Fighters Aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, pilots play a key role in shows of force and complex missions. Even as drones become integrated into the fleet, pilots will lead. U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tommy Lamkin
The Human Element -- Popular Science
Why drones won't be taking over our wars anytime soon.
Early in 2008 on the Black Sea coast, a Georgian drone flying over the separatist enclave of Abkhazia transmitted an instantaneous artifact from the age of human flight—the video record of its own destruction by an attacking fighter jet. What happened that day was born of incendiary post-Soviet politics. The Kremlin backed Abkhazia and was furious that Georgia had bought surveillance drones to watch over the disputed ground. Georgia’s young government flaunted its new fleet, bullhorning to diplomats and to journalists like me what the drones were documenting of Russia’s buildup to war. I remember the Georgian bravado. We have drones. Ha! We have arrived. Tensions led to action. Action came to this: A Russian MiG-29 intercepted one of Georgia’s unmanned aircraft, an Israeli-made Hermes 450, which streamed live video of the fighter swinging into position. The jet pilot fired a heat-seeking missile. Viewed on the drone operator’s screen down below, the missile grew larger and its exhaust plume grew longer as it rushed near. Then the screen went fuzzy. Georgia’s drone was dead.
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My Comment: Drones may not be taking over our wars now .... but the trend is shifting to that goal.