USAF captain calls for air-force to build laser-armed drone fighter that can think and KILL on its own - and beat any human pilot in a dogfight
- Captain Michael W. Byrnes has developed the concept for an FQ-X fighter that could - in theory - out-fly any pilot who's ever lived
- The autonomous drone would be able to make decisions - and even kill - without the direct intervention of a human being
- Capt Byrnes argues the idea is closer to becoming a reality than most people - including U.S. Air Force brass - realize
The next generation fighter plane isn't the F-35 or any jet being developed by China, Russia, or any air force in the world. It's a stealth drone, armed with a laser cannon and outfitted with a computer capable of thinking on its own and learning - and it'll be able to beat any pilot who's ever lived.
A U.S. Air Force captain who specializes in flying drones has devised new concept drone for the American military that could revolutionize air-to-air combat by removing human beings from cockpits and replacing them with cold machines that are capable of making millions of flight adjustments a second.
Time will tell whether the 'FQ-X' will prove to be the future aerial dog-fighting or a flash in the pan - or even the harbinger of an android apocalypse like the Terminators and Battlestar Galactica Cylons from science fiction.
Concept: Rough mock-ups of the FQ-X drone fighter, which can think and act on its own, show a small, fast, light aircraft capable of out-maneuvering and out-thinking the enemy
The FQ-X would be armed either with a cannon or lasers - not guided missiles as is the standard for today's modern fighter aircraft
No matter what, Capt Michael W. Byrnes says, the technology is closer than most people think.
In an article published in the Air & Space Power Journal this summer, Capt Byrnes makes his case that most of the technologies required for such a drone fighter are already in existence - they just have to be fine-tuned to make the FQ-X.
He also builds the case that no matter what arguments human pilots make about adaptability and the complex tasks required to win a dogfight, they will always lose to a perfect computer-aided drone.
Captain Michael W. Byrnes imagines a deadlier air force - without pilots
'Humans average 200-300 milliseconds to react to simple stimuli, but machines can select or synthesize and execute maneuvers, making millions of corrections in that same quarter of a second,' Capt Byrnes writes.
'Every step (in dog-fighting tactics) that we can do, they will do better.'
The analysis is based on the time-honored approach to combat called 'Observe, Orient, Decide, Act' (OODA) - which means pilots must observe the situation, process those observations, decide on a course of action and then act.
However, following those steps to their logical conclusions means that 'machines will inevitably outfly human pilots,' Capt Byrnes writes.
The FQ-X that Capt Byrnes has devised is small, fast and light. It relies on radar-obscuring stealth skin to allow it to get close to its targets.
A sophisticated computer would be able to tell the different between friend and foe and process how to maneuver in combat. The computer would also be able to learn from tactics of enemy pilots and make adjustments in millionths of a second.
Finally, an armament of cannon rounds - or a high-intensity laser - would eliminate the opposition before enemy pilots have a chance to react.
Military futurists have for decades been predicting that unmanned fighters would replace pilots in the sky. The U.S. military has already begun using drones - piloted by trained airmen thousands of miles away - for many surveillance missions. Drones with air-to-ground missile have also famously been used to kill combatants in some of the world's most remote and inhospitable regions.
But the technology still requires a human to guide the controls.
Unmanned and deadly: Drones already carry out missile strikes on targets around the world. Pictured here is an MQ-9 Reaper armed with air-to-ground missiles
Capt Byrnes acknowledges that his of a thinking killer machine is the stuff of science fiction nightmares - like Battlestar Galactica's Cylons
Capt Byrnes said artificial intelligence that could eliminate the pilot altogether is already in development. In 2008, an MIT researcher developed a computer brain that performed basic fighter maneuvers in a flight test lab. According to Capt Byrnes, it was able to 'learn' how to fly into a kill position - rather than the moves being pre-programmed in.
However, an autonomous drone need not operate without human input, he says. Commands could be worked into the programming to require human approval - and accountability - at any step in combat.
Even as the technology becomes closer to reality, Capt Byrnes acknowledges that human beings might not be ready to accept it.
'Aviators may dislike it, the public will question it, science fiction imagines harbingers of the Cylon apocalypse, and we are uncertain how to best utilize it within the context of the larger Air Force,' he writes.
'Nevertheless, the FQ-X concept is too dangerous to our current thinking to ignore forever.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2723466/The-laser-armed-stealth-drone-think-beat-fighter-pilot-dogfight-But-future-Air-Force-harbinger-Cylon-apocalypse.html#ixzz3AKMK1EuN