For the past decade it seemed fact was following fiction as U.S. military UAVs proliferated and the public’s imagination started recalling Hollywood films from the 1980s and 1990s (think The Terminator).
But comments this week at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s (AUVSI) annual conference in Washington by two different commanding officers remind me that truth is stranger than fiction. As much as the military is learning to love all-things unmanned, planners are just as concerned with how to integrate unmanned systems with manned weapons and platforms and make them truly interoperable.
To be sure, both Barclay’s and Winter’s comments are notable – not so much for reining in concerns of the further rise of unmanned systems – but for benchmarking the, dare I say, revolution in military affairs that has come from unmanned systems to date. As Barclay noted, at the beginning of his career three decades ago his colleagues dismissed unmanned vehicles, if for no other reason that the perceived threat to their jobs. Now military leaders see the necessity of unmanned, but more importantly, integrating them into the rest of the arsenal.