[section_title title=Manned Fighter Aircraft and New Age of Lethality]
From massed destruction capability to de-massification of destruction has been achieved by advanced technologies for surgical, pin-point attacks on high value targets instead of using the earlier method of massed attacks on large area in the fond hope that the target will be made in-effective. This is possible nowadays with the advent of ‘Smart’ and ‘Brilliant’ weapons and capabilities coming up in the form of unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs). Besides these the recent capability in the “cyber warfare” dimension demonstrated by the sole superpower against Iran in the form of Stuxnet, Duqu and Flame is an indication of shift to “virtual and non-lethal lethality”. The unmanned systems are becoming more and more capable and with the advent of unmanned combat systems – we are entering an age of what we can call “remote, virtual and non-lethal lethality”.
Manned Fighter Aircraft and New Age of Lethality
In a telling article last year, the Economist wrote “the future belongs to Drones”. The article published is titled “The last manned fighter” and it gives a detailed account of F-35 fighter plane costs and ends with a future direction that clearly seems to be favoring unmanned combat aircraft. It states, “In many roles, unmanned planes are more efficient: they carry neither a bulky pilot nor the kit that keeps him alive, which means they can both turn faster and be stealthier. And if they are shot down, no one dies. Even the F-35’s champions concede that it will probably be the last manned strike fighter aircraft the West will build.” Given the promise and capability of unmanned aircraft, cyber warfare and increasing cost of training pilots to operate such complex aircraft, it is but foolhardy to build a future military capability ignoring the new age of lethality which is characterized by remote, virtual, non-lethal and cyber lethality.
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