Speaking of the Decline of Airpower
A follow up to the last post-Strategypage discusses how the USAF is starting to doubt their own manned future, specifically concerning their newest warplane, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter:
Many air force generals admit that the F-35 is probably the last manned fighter. But some believe that the F-35 will be facing stiff competition from pilotless fighters before F-35 production is scheduled to end in 2034.
UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) are not particularly popular with many U.S. Air Force leaders, but that is not the case in many other countries. Air force generals around the world see the unpiloted jet fighter as a way to break the monopoly the U.S. Air Force has had on air supremacy for the last sixty years. Most Americans don’t even think of this long domination of the air, but potential enemies of the United States are well aware of it, and that domination has a profound effect on how those nations do their military planning. In effect, if you think about going to war with the United States, you take for granted that American aircraft will control the skies above. Robotic jet fighters could change that.
Perhaps this is why it bothers the air generals that the ground troops, Army and Marines, have so much control over their own UAVs. Perhaps someday soon the ground pounders might get the idea they no longer need a separate service too often distracted over things like Strategic Bombing to bother with them.