posted on Nov, 25 2004 @ 06:16 AM
I have done alot of research and reading up on UCAV's from the US and around the world. I agree with you that the US is probably the world leader in
this type of tech and that they WILL be integrating UCAV's into their airfoce.....but at the moment these UCAV's with the exception of a modified
surveilllance UAV named predator have only been through testing and so far have not been used in open conflicts with other countries to my knowledge.
The predator is a unique unnmaned air surveillance vehicle and was a kind of a test bed to see if the technology for unnmaned flying craft would be
worth the funding and development to mass produce and factory machine for the USAF. After hundreds of succesfull missions some predators were
retrofitted with a small amount of armaments for use in stategic bombing missions agains sensitive/dangerous targets where they could justify the use
of a UAV where the use of a pilot would be unneccesary.
The most recent things Im hearing from a source close to Boeing, is that the X-47A will be the first real UCAV to see active service in the USAF.
They have been tested and approved for use now, but the process of rolling them out for the USAF may still take 2-3yrs or longer. At the moment there
have been only 2 X-47A's constructed for tests, of which 45% of their mass is made of composites, but the real thing to be used in the USAF in the
coming years will be constructed from 90%composites. I agree that few airforces in the world would have a chance against the USAF at the moment, and
with these new UCAV's being designed and built they offer a first strike capability which will be more manouverable, carry a larger payload and will
be more efficient and stealthy than even the JSF and the F-35 currently in development. This also means that instead of wasting good pilots in very
dangerous dogfights/bombing mission on the first day of any war, the pilots could be kept in reserve whilst these planes soak up and destroy most of
the enemy capability.
Just my 5cents, hope this helps.
[edit on 25-11-2004 by radiant_obsidian]