Beaucaire
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Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Sun Nov 02, 2008 6:43 pm

..hence EADS will not design any longer manned combat aircraft...und focus on
sophisticated drones.
The Typhon will be the last EADS designed and build fighter..


http://www.ftd.de/unternehmen/indust...ert-Milit%E4rsparte-um/433750.html
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ebj1248650
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:53 pm

I can see EADS designing unmanned aircraft to go into very high threat areas of combat, but I firmly believe we haven't seen the end of manned tactical fighters any more than we've seen the end of cannon armament on tactical aircraft.
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:59 pm



Quoting EBJ1248650 (Reply 1):
I can see EADS designing unmanned aircraft to go into very high threat areas of combat, but I firmly believe we haven't seen the end of manned tactical fighters

I agree completely I also think EADS has not ruled it out yet
 
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:07 pm

I'm having flashbacks to Viet Nam and the F-4 Phantom II. The powers on high got the early F-4s with no guns and came to regret it later. Hence the introduction of the F-4E. And the retention of a fun in the F-14, F-15, F-16 and F-18. And even the Typhoon has "provision" for the gun if the affected air arm wishes to use it. Aviation history is replete with periods where the people in charge have made a decision and then had to back track and revert to earlier principles and actions.

I fully appreciate the desire to go to an all UAV mode. Saves human lives I'm sure. But you can't do with a UAV what you can do with a manned aircraft any more than you can do with a spy satellite what you can do with a reconnaissance airplane.
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:30 am



Quoting EBJ1248650 (Reply 3):
I fully appreciate the desire to go to an all UAV mode. Saves human lives I'm sure. But you can't do with a UAV what you can do with a manned aircraft any more than you can do with a spy satellite what you can do with a reconnaissance airplane.

That's poor logic. UAVs, manned reconnaissance aircraft, and manned aircraft with offensive capability can loiter in an area unlike spy satellites, which is their major primary limitation.
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:53 am

I think EADS will offer manned combat aircraft to any country that wants them. UAVs are the current trend today, but tomorrow may be a different story. Boeing, EADS, Lockheed, NG, or just about anyone else can continue to design new manned combat aircraft, as well as U-CAVs.

One major disadvantage of the UAVs/C-UAVs of today, is the reduction in real time situational awearness. Technoligy may or may not correct that, but we know today that an aircrew aboard already does that.
 
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Mon Nov 03, 2008 5:00 am

I think the problem with UAV's is that it actually makes the odds of a war happening higher.

After all if a country doesn't have to worry about sacrificing lives, and so as long as their economy can crank out thousands of these planes they ain't got nothing to lose where their opponent has only to lose...

At least current drones are controlled remotely by people, future drones will eventually be fully autonomous. This could pose the risk of a so-called "terminator"-scenario.


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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:26 am



Quoting EBJ1248650 (Reply 3):
I'm having flashbacks to Viet Nam and the F-4 Phantom II. The powers on high got the early F-4s with no guns and came to regret it later. Hence the introduction of the F-4E. And the retention of a fun in the F-14, F-15, F-16 and F-18. And even the Typhoon has "provision" for the gun if the affected air arm wishes to use it. Aviation history is replete with periods where the people in charge have made a decision and then had to back track and revert to earlier principles and actions.

I would disagree with this line of thought.

The move towards UASs is not at all like the decision to remove the gun from fighter jets (IE: F-4 Phantom). The UAS revolution is more akin to the transition between piston aircraft, and jet aircraft.

And I certainly don't agree the move towards the UAS is as detrimental to military aviation, as you suggest.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
UAVs are the current trend today, but tomorrow may be a different story.

As a military aviator, I fully welcome, and support, the move towards UASs. Whether it was in Iraq, or here in Afghanistan, the UAS has been crucial to the way we conduct business. The UAS scouted LZs, it escorted, it loitered and surveyed, it brought the fight to the enemy, and did so with limited means. If this is just the beginning into this field, then I don't see the need to be so pessimistic, and critical.

Hell, even the new aircraft I fly are only a few steps away from being UASs! The full axis autopilot, the system management computers, etc, are all able to manage that aircraft better than any human pilot.

The UAS is the wave of the future. People are naturally going to be negative towards this move, because it means a sharp change in the status quo. Oh well, we'll get over our sore crotches, soon enough.

If anything, the UAS will definitely be the best choice for the next recon aircraft, and eventually the next deep strike aircraft. Fighter aircraft and rotary wing aircraft will take time, but I have no doubt they'll eventually come of age.

-UH60
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:35 pm

UH-60 will correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the Army is moving their UAV's/UAS's from Intelligence Units to the Combat Aviation Brigades, making them full members of the Army aviation community.

Not sure if they are going to move the training from Fort Huachuca to Fort Rucker.
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:27 am

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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:55 am



Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 7):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
UAVs are the current trend today, but tomorrow may be a different story.

As a military aviator, I fully welcome, and support, the move towards UASs. Whether it was in Iraq, or here in Afghanistan, the UAS has been crucial to the way we conduct business. The UAS scouted LZs, it escorted, it loitered and surveyed, it brought the fight to the enemy, and did so with limited means. If this is just the beginning into this field, then I don't see the need to be so pessimistic, and critical.

Hell, even the new aircraft I fly are only a few steps away from being UASs! The full axis autopilot, the system management computers, etc, are all able to manage that aircraft better than any human pilot.

The UAS is the wave of the future. People are naturally going to be negative towards this move, because it means a sharp change in the status quo. Oh well, we'll get over our sore crotches, soon enough.

If anything, the UAS will definitely be the best choice for the next recon aircraft, and eventually the next deep strike aircraft. Fighter aircraft and rotary wing aircraft will take time, but I have no doubt they'll eventually come of age.

-UH60

While I agree that a few of today's missions can be easily accomplished by UAVs, other missions cannot be, at least not now. I am very leary of computers taking over any aspects of flying. There have been crashes in fully automated, or near fully automated Airbus aircraft that would not allow the pilot to override the computer inputs. Autopilots and autothrottle systems are designed to reduce the workload, so the pilots and crews can consentrate on the mission, but you also train to fly without these systems, or at least degraded systems and still work the target. OTOH, a UAV on a reconn mission, has time to fully work that mission. a tanker, or "shooter" (fighter, attack, attack helio, bomber, or other weapons delivery platforms) has last minute mission changes, mission planning while flying, and changing targets or other requirements. A Preditor with Hellfires can spend hours finding the target, or bring the missiles home. Manned shooters can react mush more quickly to rapidly changing situations for the ground pounders. The current UAVs only have very limited stores capabilities, carrying fewer weapons than most WWII vintage airplanes during that war. OTOH a B-1, A-10, or AH-64 carries a very good load, and mix of our finest "crowd pleasers", and who can rightly claim the Wathog's 30mm (or Apache 20mm) isn't something that can make the bad guys stop "dead" in their tracks.
 
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:13 am



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
I am very leary of computers taking over any aspects of flying.

LOL, well welcome to the 21st century, KC!

Might be time to finally accept those confounded contraptions we call "computers"because they're running a lot of the things you take for granted!

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
There have been crashes in fully automated, or near fully automated Airbus aircraft that would not allow the pilot to override the computer inputs.

Oh come'on! This has to be one of the weakest arguments against UASs, that I have ever heard!

Are you really trying to assert that an accident that happened TWO DECADES ago - an accident caused by both human and techincal failures (wow that's a first?) -, is a good enough reason to not field UASs?!?

Seriously, I am a little shocked by this argument.

To claim that computers fail, but ignore that the human factor has also failed countless times, is just incredible. The human factor, that you so lavishly praise, can easily be a disadvantage, as it could be an advantage.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
The current UAVs only have very limited stores capabilities, carrying fewer weapons than most WWII vintage airplanes during that war.

Look, I am not saying that we ought to go all UASs, in all airframes, all missions, right away.

But I am not so blind, that I don't recognize the vast potential of the UAS, in future combat. You're damn right hey have limited abilities today, and there is definitely the need to augment computers with human decision making. But none of this means we ought to be wary of the UAS.

In a short 10 years, the military has revolutionized the UAS, and I am a firm proponent of continuing to build upon those successes. Using UASs in the way of the future, and the people afraid of this fact are going to be left in the dust, just like the people who thought the jet engine was just a nifty gadget.

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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:08 am

There are a lot of exciting technoligies coming in the way of advanced warfare. UAVs will be part of it, rail guns (USN) and laser weapons (USAF, US Army) will be another part. But, overall, I don't see warfare going to far away from humans. Future robots will help us fight, but war is all about taking ground from the enemy, and to do that it will take grunts, or boots on the ground. Those grunts will always need air and sea support, some of that support will be in some form of a robot, or UAV. But, many other forms will need people in the planes, helos, trucks, and ships. Command and control, immediate aid, SAR, CAS, and other missions will need pilots. Look at the A-10, probibly the world's best CAS airplane in the world, yet it is a 1970s design and uses almost no computers. The same can be said for the AH-64, although it has more computers than the A-10, it is a pilot and gunner doing the "work" of killing bad guys.

UAVs, Robots, or what ever you will call them will have a place in the future battlefield. But, it will also be a long time before they will be able to adapt to situations and think as rapidly as the people do.

All of these computers are nothing more than tools to make future warfare more effecient. That really means we will have the ability to kill more bad guys faster than ever before, thus shortening the overall war, I hope.

Look at it as you would have a new Browning Machine Gun, going into WWI. It was very effecient, but not unbeatable.
 
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:16 am



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 12):

So ummm... yeah I am a little confused, when exactly did these UASs begin operating autonomously?

Because you're making it sound like some war out of the movie Terminator, where machines have free will!

See, I was under the impression that while there was not a human on board, there was still one ultimately controlling a UAS.

So where is this horrible move away from the human decision making ability, that you speak of? Because I don't see it. It seems to me, that even with UASs, humans are still a large part of the equation.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 12):
The same can be said for the AH-64, although it has more computers than the A-10, it is a pilot and gunner doing the "work" of killing bad guys.

Yes, look at the AH-64.

They're one of the most technologically advanced helicopters in the sky. The pilots spend more time managing computers - you know, those things you distrust - than flying than flying the helicopter. It is a great example of the power of computers, and a showcase of how far they've come in the last decade.

So your example of the AH-64, is actually a perfect case to argue in favor of continuing to advance the field of UASs. Because simply looking at the difference between Block I and Block III, shows the exponentially rising abilities of computers.

AS I SAID, I have no illusions of UASs being the end-all, be-all, of aviation! But they are already proving to be invaluable tools on the battlefield. So there is no reason to believe that they will not continue to improve to the point that we can begin using them on missions that we currently send manned aircraft, on.

The fact of the matter is that the age of fearing computers ended about 3 decades ago.

-UH60
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:55 am



Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 13):
So ummm... yeah I am a little confused, when exactly did these UASs begin operating autonomously?

Actually, back in the 1970s. ALCMs, SRAMS, Tomakawks, etc. are essentially C-UAVs, flying a preprogrammed mission profile. The problem with them is, once launched, if the programming screws up, there is nothing you can do about it. Additionally, during ODS, the USN BBs were flying UAVs, on "semi-pre-programmed" routes as a spotter for the fall of 16" shells. IIRC, the USS Wisconsin, BB-64, had several hundred Iraqi surrender to one of their drones.

Systems like Preditiors of today have a high loss rate (or higher than originally thought), because they sometimes lose communications with the pilots.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 13):
Yes, look at the AH-64.

They're one of the most technologically advanced helicopters in the sky. The pilots spend more time managing computers - you know, those things you distrust - than flying than flying the helicopter. It is a great example of the power of computers, and a showcase of how far they've come in the last decade.

So your example of the AH-64, is actually a perfect case to argue in favor of continuing to advance the field of UASs. Because simply looking at the difference between Block I and Block III, shows the exponentially rising abilities of computers.

I agree, the AH-64 is the world's primier attach helio system, and probibly will be for maqny more years. The US Army and Boeing do a great job keeping it on the "leading edge". But don't the crews also train on what to do if some computers or systems break enroute to the bad guy's house? The crew may at some point have to fight without all the bells & whistles. I would guess they do. and also have a "go-no go" list of minimum systems at which they can fight with.
 
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:19 am



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 14):
Systems like Preditiors of today have a high loss rate (or higher than originally thought), because they sometimes lose communications with the pilots.

I wonder how the compare against any other early stage aviation technology? How many early jet aircraft suffered from mechanical issues due to their new-ness?

To argue against UASs by saying, "Well current UAVs are having issues" is silly. Because it a newly started-up field of combat aviation, issues are bound to arise. But just look at what they are doing right now - even though you deride them as unreliable. They are going to continue to get more capable, more lethal, more reliable and more crucial to the battlefield, and it's happening faster than some people are willing to accept.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 14):
But don't the crews also train on what to do if some computers or systems break enroute to the bad guy's house? The crew may at some point have to fight without all the bells & whistles. I would guess they do. and also have a "go-no go" list of minimum systems at which they can fight with.

Well I wasn't trying to argue that the AH-64 is a good example of a UAS, it's not. I was using it as an example to show how far computer systems have come in a short 10 years. Compare the A model to the Block III D model, and it's a totally different aircraft. Computers are progressing at such a rate, that it is undeniable that they will continue to grow and expand in potential.

Just because they are not able to fly a CAS mission, or fight in a dog fight, does not mean they will never be able too. The march of technology has taught us as much.

So I to get back to the original topic, I fully agree with EADS: The future is unmanned.

-UH60
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:06 am



Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 15):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 14):
Systems like Preditiors of today have a high loss rate (or higher than originally thought), because they sometimes lose communications with the pilots.

I wonder how the compare against any other early stage aviation technology? How many early jet aircraft suffered from mechanical issues due to their new-ness?

To argue against UASs by saying, "Well current UAVs are having issues" is silly.

Please don't get me wrong. I understand that new technology will have some bugs to work out. But, Preditor has been around now for over 10 years, Global Hawk for over 8. Both systems are light years ahead of the pilotless drones and programmed missiles of the '70s, '80s, and '90s. The technology will improve, but what I am asking is how far do we really want to go with this, and do we really want to fully take the man out of the weapons platforms in the future?

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 15):
Just because they are not able to fly a CAS mission, or fight in a dog fight, does not mean they will never be able too. The march of technology has taught us as much.

That is correct, but do we really want that?
 
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:37 am



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 16):
and do we really want to fully take the man out of the weapons platforms in the future?

Why wouldn't we?

Removing humans from the battle field is the ultimate goal. And one we should be really seeking to achieve.

The real question is whether unmanned weapon systems can achieve the same mission performance as manned systems.

Survivability rate will also be a factor, but because no human loss will be risked, the survivability rate of an unmanned system will not necessarily need to be as high as that of a manned one. In war time, losing an experienced pilot is usually much worse than loosing a aircraft.
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:53 am



Quoting Francoflier (Reply 17):
The real question is whether unmanned weapon systems can achieve the same mission performance as manned systems.

Correct.

Quoting Francoflier (Reply 17):
Survivability rate will also be a factor, but because no human loss will be risked, the survivability rate of an unmanned system will not necessarily need to be as high as that of a manned one.

Don't be so sure about that. As weapons, weapons systems, and weapons delivery advanced throughout time, defensive systems and tactics also advanced. Why wouldn't a country under attack by C-UAVs not want to attack the remote control centers, and personnel for those C-UAVs directly?

The tactics and systems needed to do that will be developed very quickly, and relitively easily.

Quoting Francoflier (Reply 17):
Why wouldn't we?

Removing humans from the battle field is the ultimate goal. And one we should be really seeking to achieve.

Unfortunately, in war, the best way to get a surrender from your opponent is not by breaking his things, but by killing his people. Sorry, but that always has been and will remain the main function of war. War is a messy business. Trying to win a war without accepting the loss of people is like wishing the sun would raise in the west. It simply will not happen. As long as we have wars, people will be killed by them, and in very large numbers.
 
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:42 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 18):
Why wouldn't a country under attack by C-UAVs not want to attack the remote control centers, and personnel for those C-UAVs directly?

Good point, but my assumption is that those combat UAVs will be able to operate out of air bases or aircraft carriers that normal manned fighters would use. The operators would hence be in safe(-er) territory and harder to get to.
I also believe those UAVs will get some degree of autonomy from an onbard AI. A mission plan would be loaded before departure, and unplanned for events could be managed by the AI as they unfold, meaning a direct link between the base and the jet might not be necessary for the sucess of the mission.

Another great advantage of an unmanned platform over a manned one is the lack of initial and recurrent training need of the human operator.
A fleet of UAVs (and other unmanned combat vehicles) would not need to be operated constantly during peacetime to keep the pilots up to date. The associated savings would be huge over comparable fleet of manned vehicles.
The ground based operators could keep up using simulators, and the actual birds would only need system checks and software updates.
The vision of silent airbases all around the world and the extinction of the fighter pilot breed is a mighty uncool one, but I believe it might eventually happen, although it is still far out...

More savings would be made by eliminating the need of an SAR operation to support a manned combat sortie.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 18):
War is a messy business.

No argument there.
Although in an 'ideal' scenario, armies fight it out first, and the defeat of one leaves its government no real choice but to surrender...
Unfortunately, major military standoff have shown that sooner or later, despair will lead to targetting civilians. But in a military vs. military event, casualties would be reduced by introducing a greater unmanned element..
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:53 pm



Quoting Beaucaire (Thread starter):
hence EADS will not design any longer manned combat aircraft.

Thats not fully correct, the article say's EADS will focus on UCAV's but there is nowhere written they will never ever develop fighters.

EADS UCAV:

“Faliure is not an option.”
 
Beaucaire
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:53 am

Actually the picture shows the "Baracuda" which crashed of the Spanish coast..
EADS have a new ,advanced program,which is not public yet.
But there s strong competition from France..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dassault_Neuron

"......measuring 10 m long by 12 m wide and weighing in at 5 tons. This is roughly the size of a Mirage 2000 fighter. The aircraft will have unmanned autonomous air-to-ground attack capabilities with precision guided munitions, relying on an advanced stealth airframe design to penetrate undetected. Another feature being contemplated is the ability to control squad flight in automatic mode from an advanced fighter like the Rafale or JAS 39 Gripen platform, grouping the nEUROns and controlling the group in a manner similar to many combat real-time strategy computer games....."

[Edited 2008-11-11 22:57:35]
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:06 pm

The political point of view must be considered... An unmanned plane can be sent and shot down without homeoppinion becomes a problem.

Also as menstioned, you do not need to use them and therefore you can produce more planes. And they might not need to be as fast and capable why a loss of the plane is not a disaster.
 
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Mon Nov 17, 2008 6:50 pm

Quoting Beaucaire (Reply 21):
Actually the picture shows the "Baracuda" which crashed of the Spanish coast..
EADS have a new ,advanced program,which is not public yet.
But there s strong competition from France..

Thanks, but i know that. AFAIK two Baracudas were built in this secret German-Spanish project.
The goal was to achieve a full autonomous plane without ANY interference of a human. It succeded as it executed its mission perfectly until a software problem made it crash at landing.

It was the biggest and most advanced European UCAV at that time.
Its fuselage and wings are constructed entirely from carbon fibre - the only significant metal component is the wing spar, running through the middle and reinforcing the wings.

IMO also a very beatiful aircraft which will be missed.   


Now the funny thing is that Spain also does participate on the NEURON program.

I bet 100$ some NEURON technology will make it to EADS Germany and EADS itself later bringing a even more advanced UCAV on the market. (Spanish-German relationship)    

[Edited 2008-11-17 10:53:56]
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RE: Eads Military : The Future Is Unmanned..

Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:55 pm

We still have cases of fratricide (friendly fire) with fully manned combat aircraft, and we're talking a future of nothing but unmanned, autonomous drones? I don't think so. Don't get me wrong, UCAVs will play an increasingly major role in future combat, but it'll be several decades before they overthrow the Mk I eyeballs, if not a couple of centuries. Human beings make mistakes and computers are programmed by them, thus the computers make mistakes too.
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