Friday, July 20, 2012

The other X-45A

The year 2002 saw the U.S. Air Force directing an investigation into the potential for unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) tasking for the suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) — a mission category previously known more descriptively as “Iron Hand”, back in the day. 

Northrop Grumman and Boeing coordinated in the effort producing a scaled composite aircraft — the X-45A — along with the electronics and computer software for autonomous missions. Yes, program the machine to fly, attack, identify/address threats/targets of opportunity, and return to base — all with little to no human interaction during the mission. As I have said in a previous post, this seems so very Skynet — á lá Terminator — in the machine vs. man SciFi genre film. No exciting name for the X-45A, though its development is historic, its name is the acronym J-UCAS (Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems).

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