Thursday, July 11, 2013

What Is Next For The U.S. Navy's Drone Program

This Drone Just Made History. But Now Where Does it Go? -- Gordon Lubold and John Reed, Killer Apps/Foreign Policy

A robotic plane landed, took off and landed again on an aircraft carrier off the Virginia coast Wednesday, catapulting the Navy into the next generation of aviation. It's an historical moment, on par with the first flight Eugene Ely made off a ship in 1910. The Navy Secretary who watched it all go down couldn't help but be ebullient about presiding over the sea service on a day that made history.

"It's not often that you see into the future, but that's what we got to see today," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus declared in the hangar of the Bush after the successful landing. Ultimately, these planes will be fully integrated into naval aviation, helping stealth fighters like the Joint Strike Fighter to return to its strike fighter roots. "The platform and the payload it carries will evolve, and it will give us what the Navy needs the most, which is presence, which is being not just at the right place at the right time, but the right place, all the time."

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My Comment: Like all military programs .... it all comes down to money. Unfortunately .... high US budget deficits have now made budget cuts the norm and not the exception, and as a result the US Navy will probably not be given the funds to develop and manufacture the advanced drones to the degree that they may want to.

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