A professor and drone expert has claimed that drones will “eventually achieve superiority” over manned aircraft, as skirmishes between the two continue to increase.
“UAVs will eventually achieve superiority,” predicted University of Texas at Austin Professor Todd Humphreys. “They’ll pull Gs far beyond what a human can withstand, and they’ll react so quickly and coordinate among themselves so effectively that it’ll be the manned fighter aircraft that become the sitting ducks.”
“I suppose the transition to UAVs being superior in dogfights will happen sometime in the next 20 years,” he declared.
Though Humphreys is confident that drones will soon takeover their manned counterparts, he added that they are currently inferior.
“Current military UAVs, including those in the US arsenal and the Iranian Shahed that was recently shot down, look like sitting ducks to a manned fighter aircraft,” Humphreys claimed.
The prediction that drones will overtake manned aircraft within the next twenty years follows a number of recent incidents where military drones were shot out of the sky.
“On June 8, a US Air Force F-15E manned fighter jet intercepted and shot down an Iranian-made Shahed-129 armed drone that had just attacked US-allied fighters in southern Syria. It was unclear who — Iran, the Syrian regime, or some pro-regime, Iran-backed militia — was operating the Shahed drone,” reported Motherboard on Wednesday. “Two weeks later, on June 20, an American F-15E destroyed another armed Shahed-129 as it flew toward pro-US fighters in the same area where the previous Shahed had gone down. The very same day, a Pakistani JF-17 manned fighter destroyed an unspecified Iranian drone as it reportedly flew on Pakistan’s side of its border with Iran.”
“In the spring of 1999, a Serbian Mi-8 transport helicopter flew alongside a US Air Force Predator drone surveilling Kosovo during the NATO intervention in that country. The door gunner on the Serbian copter opened fire, destroying the American drone,” they continued. “Three years later, in December 2002, an Iraqi MiG-25 fighter intercepted a US Predator drone spying on southern Iraq. The Americans had outfitted the Predator with air-to-air missiles for self-defense, but the MiG-25 was faster and its weapons traveled farther. Both aircraft fired missiles. The MiG dodged but the slow-moving Predator went down in flames.”
In March, the Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command warned that drones pose a “growing threat” to nuclear facilities, while this month a North Korean drone allegedly spied on a U.S. missile defense base in South Korea, before crashing nearby.
In April, it was reported that the U.S. Army had field-tested vehicle-mounted anti-drone lasers, an effort prompted by ISIS’ use of spying, propaganda, and explosive drones.