Nice pic. 10char
The Army's AH-64E Apache began test and evaluation of its Block 3 capability to include recent upgrades of an air-to-air-ground video relay, embedded diagnostics, external fuel tank system and the newly integrated Link 16 communications system at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Aug. 4. Many 96th Test Wing units are supporting the testing to include the 46th Test Squadron and 96th Range Support Squadron. (U.S. Army photo/Capt. Jesse Paulsboe)
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Nice pic. 10char
But cost $40+ millon can go 20x predador
UAV the job done
But at the moment they are two machines doing different missions... But eventually they will merge I guess.
Right now the Apache has some advantages that the UAV's just do not have... And they need to be upgraded to stay at the tip of the spear, they have proven invaluable in OIF and OEF...
But eventually manned helicopters will go the way of the dodo... How long that will take is the question.. But it will happen
I would be carefull with UAV's, IMHO unmanned vehicles might become the wrong way at all. Not many people are even aware of unmanned vehicles limitations, like lower situational awareness, slower reaction time and so on.
Living pilot steering it's machine is better than a robot, and living pilot steering machine from long range must be ready for delays due to connection distance.
Does the Block 3 have enhanced SAS smock detection ability and anti-stalking systems?
*Coat. Hat. Door.*
That photo isn't Eglin AFB, so why is this in the photo section instead of news?
Some ought to look at the accident rates for UAV. Some ought to look at the flight regimes that Preds fly in the face of air defense assets. Some should consider which aircraft is likely to execute an order to fly into a hill just because it got told to do so (by error or hacking). Some should consider the available bandwidth (especially SATCOM) before blackening the skies with Preds. Some should consider the weather that Preds are able to fly in. Some should consider the take off and landing flexibility of Preds. Some should consider the number of stowed kills and types that a Pred can carry. Some should consider that the cost of a Pred to be able to do considerably more will be considerably more.
The main problem I have with UAV's, which many of them you pointed out, is that UAV's will never equal what a human pilot brings to the table. Full situational awareness of the battlefield and being able to make quick decisions that a drone will ever do. UAV's do have some perks. Like keeping the pilot out of danger and to loiter for longer periods of time. Sure it works great in Iraq/Afghanistan taking out Jihads without SAM's, but how will it match up against a country like Russia/China? Those UAV's would get shot out of the sky before even getting close to the country to drop the payload. Give me an F-15/16/18/22/35 over a drone any day. Who knows, one day UCAV's could prove me wrong.