Thursday, October 21, 2010

Motivation and Reality Checks

I read this article on aero-news about a "new" aircraft being developed. The concept is a "light attack" aircraft, which is basically an admission that our cold-war fighters and attack aircraft are massive overkill for the missions they are being used on. The other interesting thing is that the pilots are all on board for this idea, since most of them can clearly see that the alternative is having their job replaced by a drone.

The light attack concept is simple: instead of building a massive, jet-powered, state-of-the-art mach 3 fighter to drop bombs on camels, go use something that works a lot more like a WWII fighter. After all, they did a perfectly good job at ground attack then as long as there weren't other fighters to shoot them down, which matches fairly well with the conflicts we fight today.

And they're cheap. Prices for these should be close to parity with current drones, if not less expensive, and operating costs are low as well ($600/hr instead of $15,000/hr, per the article). I'm not sure how they managed to get the project going, but I wish them success before someone realizes they're not spending enough money and kills it.

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