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Air Force Needs Disposable Aircraft, Official Says

• https://www.defensetech.org, By: Oriana Pawlyk

It may seem chaotic, but the Air Force must adopt the concept of pilotless technology — maybe sooner than planned, the head of the Defense Department's Strategic Capabilities Office said Tuesday.

"We are going to have to start building teams — what used to be solo systems are going to have to be teams to be relevant in the near future, maybe even the far future," SCO Director William Roper told an audience at a briefing outside Washington, D.C., organized by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute.

Roper said the technology is available to make "teams of systems higher performing than solo systems." But of the four military branches, the Air Force — ironically — may be lagging in adopting such aviation technology, he said.

"I think this [using disposable platforms] is going to be harder for the Air Force than for the other services. I hope I'm wrong on that," Roper said.

"We have not had that in our platforms. All the things that we build are expensive," he said. "The expectation is if it's a platform that takes off, it will return home."

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