What will the future look like? Current air-warfare concepts assign such drone aircraft the role of a first-strike platform whose goal would be to penetrate enemy air defenses and hit critical targets. But as the technology matures, and the major weakness of the drone – its susceptibility to jamming and hijacking – is overcome, supersonic drones capable of high G-force maneuvers that no human pilot can sustain may emerge, rendering human-piloted fighter planes obsolete. While the fifth-generation fighter such as the F-22 is still manned by a human pilot, the sixth-generation fighter may be a UCAV and even have autonomous capability that reduces its chances of being hijacked by enemy signals. Besides greater capabilities, drones are likely to be much less expensive because unlike human-piloted fighters, drones working in a swarm need not contain expensive elements such as radars; such expensive and energy-hungry sensor elements may be located elsewhere, feeding their information to the master combat supercomputer in control of a drone swarm.
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