Elon Musk tells fighter pilots their era has passed, will be replaced with autonomous drones
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk laid out his vision of the future in front of a group of US Air Force fighter pilots last week- and the aforementioned pilots weren’t a part of that future.
Speaking at the Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, explained that the future is not in manned aircraft.
“The fighter jet era has passed,” Musk said to US Air Force Lt. Gen. John Thompson. “Drone warfare is where the future will be. It’s not that I want the future to be- it’s just, this is what the future will be.”
UAV-exclusive warfare comes with concerns, however- particularly when it comes to whether or not such systems can be exploited or hijacked by the enemy.
Musk went on to say that manned aircraft, such as the Lockheed Martin F-35, should have unmanned competitors that aren’t a developmental money pit.
“The Joint Strike Fighter, there should be a competitor … that’s a controversial subject but I don’t think it’s good to have one provider,” Musk said.
Later on, Musk elaborated on the topic, and addressed the concept of semi-autonomous control.
“The competitor should be a drone fighter plane that’s remote-controlled by a human, but with its maneuvers augmented by autonomy. The F-35 would have no chance against it.”
According to CNBC, Musk alluded to the notion that the US has become lazy when it comes to military innovation, and that they need to revisit the spirit of innovation that put them at the forefront, lest they be passed up by enemy nations.
“This is not something that was a risk in times past but is a risk now,” Musk said. “I have zero doubt that if the United States doesn’t seek innovation in space it will be second in space.”
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