Will drones soon replace fighter planes?

During the week, the charismatic president of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, stunned the assistance of Air Force Association fighter pilots when he declared that the replacement of traditional pilots and fighter planes by drones was inevitable in a relatively short time. According to him, the mass of information to be processed by a pilot in shorter and shorter times, associated with the physiological constraints of the human body, make the concept of a piloted combat aircraft obsolete, and points to a single solution, their disappearance in favor of unmanned systems, combat drones.

And the presentation of "Defender" concept made on February 27 by the western leader in combat drones, General Atomics, which designed and manufactured the Predator and Reaper drones in particular, seems indeed to point towards such a solution. Derivative of the "Avenger" drone, unhappy competitor of Boeing model selected for MQ-25 Stingray on-board refueling drone contract of the US Navy, the Defender presents itself as a combat drone specializing in aerial interdiction and protection aircraft support missions, such as in-flight refueling or advanced air alert devices, better known as AWACS. DARPA, for its part, is developing the Longshoot program, a device also equipped with air-to-air missiles and even a cannon, with however different objectives from the Defender concept, since it is more of an air-transported offensive weapon intended to operate in highly defended environments in order to , precisely, eliminate these defenses to allow the piloted aircraft to carry out their missions.

The positions expressed by Elon Musk during his intervention at the Air Force Association are interesting, but largely questionable

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