The end of the fight pilots

Robot on the way to aerospace: German Air Force takes her first unmanned flight system in operation

At the landing, there was a mishap: Heron-1 had already set up safely on the airfield Masar-E-Scharif and was on the way to the storage position as she collided with another plane. In both cases, property damage. Otherwise, the first use of your first unmanned starting "successfully" lost, the German Air Force reports .

In the Ministry of Defense, however, was certainly an elegant start to the new age of unmanned flying. Finally, it had already been related to the Israeli system for the Israeli system.

The root experts at the Air Force had actually favored the MQ-9 Reaper of the US company General Atomics. That it was then the Heron-1 of Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) has less to do with technical specifications of the system than with power commission in the Budget Committee, in which, according to the Handling Sheet of the Hamburg SPD deputy Johannes Kahr’s specialist. Strategic considerations also also play a role: Ultimately, politics wishes a European in-house development. However, the Europe’s competition from the US and Israel are liable for several years afterwards. Heron-1 is not bought, but leased via the German group of Rheinmetall, to overrun the time to the use of the European system.

Some of a MOGE the US drones maybe just too much in the limelight. Practically every week, dead attacks are reported with missiles, fired by Reaper drones or the process model Predator. Especially in the Pakistani mountain region Wasiristan in the border area to Afghanistan, the US intelligence of CIA seems to be strongly on the circular grubbird birds high in 8 to 15 kilometers.

The US Air Force has been used by the Predators since the mid-nineties. At that time she first flew unarmed over the Balkan her declaration missions. For their tasks, the submission of accurate target coordinates for artillery or air strikes. For attacks on moving goals, the unmanned aircraft had to enlove even rockets. This was successfully tested successfully in February 2001 at the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and soon used in an emergency: on the 7. February 2002 a Predator drone shot an autoconvo in Afghanistan (remote-controlled weapon systems reduce the attack threshold), on the 3. November 2002, the CIA with a Predator attacked a car in Yemen and dead the occupants (license to the dead on the global battlefield).

The predator and reaper drones do not apply as fighter aircraft, but as armed starting. Who thinks about the acquisition of unmanned flight systems, does not first ask for the firepower, but after the standing time, ie the time the plane can remain uninterrupted in the air. Depending on loading, it is up to 40 hours, the endurance of Heron-1 quite comparable. With its cameras and radar sensors, the flying robots make the dispute a lubrication surveillance from the air.

It is not just about target clarification and the preparation of attacks, but also to protect the own ground forces. So the radar on the ground can detect details in the magnitude of ten centimeters. Thus, changes in the soil structure can be determined which can indicate hidden explosive traps.

For aircraft the remote control comes to their limits

An ever stronger armament of the flight robots will nevertheless be inevitable. Unmanned fighters are already shaping in the development departments of the rust and aviation companies. The French company Dassault, for example, developed on behalf of France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland the flying robot warrior Neuron. He has a camouflage technology that makes the discovery more difficult by radar and infrared sensors and can reach a speed of making 0.7 to 0.8 (Mach 1.0 = speed of sound). Its armament should consist of two laser-controlled 250 kg bombs mounted inside the aircraft. Neuron can be controlled both from floor stations and from manned fighters. The first flight is scheduled for 2011.

The task of such unmanned fighter aircraft will first be the evaluation of the opposing air defense. Electronic attacks are also on the wish list of the militar planner far above. One day, the robots should also be able to get other aircraft.

They had the advantage of taking the advantage of taking no return to the stress limits of the human body at their flight manorers. At high speed, you can fly tight curves in which a pilot on board was polluted due to the high acceleration fans. It is therefore foreseeable that the robots will conquer the airspace in the long term.

This does not happen tomorrow or horror. A recent study by the US Department of Defense expects the financing of the investigation of air-fighting unmanned flight systems not before 2025, its readiness for action from 2033. It could take a long time, because on the way there, the robot warriors have to increase considerably to intelligence: For aircraft, the remote control comes to their limits. A satellite connection with two seconds signaling time is to be carried to make the quick decisions needed in such situations by making a distant human pilot. The must have the flying combat robots themselves.

The Heron-1 may seem far from such visions of autonomous combat machines. But with its indifying, the Luftwaffe did the first step in this direction. That obviously someone came into stumbling, let’s interpret as good sign.

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