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Thread: Flying Jets Without Pilots

  1. #1

    Flying Jets Without Pilots

    Tyndall AFB, Fla:

    Not all of the jets that use the runways of Tyndall Air Force Base need a pilot. A handful of older jets with advanced drone technology can take off and land without the pilot leaving the ground. That’s because several Vietnam-era F-4 fighter jets have been retrofitted with 1.2 million dollar systems that allow them to be used as flying targets.

    The 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, part of Tyndall’s 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, operates the drone program. Lt. Col. Gregory Blount, their Director of Operations, said at first it’s hard to switch from pilot to drone controller.

    “It’s a little more complicated than your standard remote control aircraft,” Blount said of the F-4.

    “So we do a lot of training to maintain their proficiency to do that.”

    Pilots are needed only when training missions are flown, to keep an eye on the controls without touching them. Blount said it was an “interesting” feeling as a pilot to be without control of his plane for an entire flight.

    “You’re only a millisecond away from taking control, so that’s a little more comforting,” Blount said.

    “We have a system in the jet where we can disengage the remote control and take it over and fly it ourselves if we need to.”

    The F-4s, called QF-4s as drones, are used when a weapons system needs to be tested using a direct hit on a real target. They are only used in target ranges over the Gulf that have been cleared by earlier flights. And if anything goes wrong, the jets can be quickly destroyed in mid-flight. Then once all of them are gone, new planes will come in.

    “The ability to have a newer and more maneuverable, more capable aircraft is out there,” Blount said.

    “In about three to four years down the road we’re going to be transitioning to the QF-16, where we’ll be taking older model F-16’s and converting them to full scale aerial targets.”

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  2. #2
    Defender of The White Race Faustus's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
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    Just another 'unmanly' sense of warfare - technology only follows the psychological imperatives of a people - how one fights war, and istitutes peace, is what determines a Peoples worth.

    Mephastophilis: Hell strives with grace for conquest in my breast. What shall I do to shun the snares of death?
    Faustus: Thinkest thou heaven is such a glorious thing? I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou, Or any man that breathes on earth.

  3. #3
    Be white, be happy. VicSedition's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Soon, Sacramento CA area.
    It desensitizes the people who are, inevitably responsible for death. I say give everyone 4ft. long swords again, and make sure that our leaders were present for each battle, like in older times. That would keep us from going into unnecessary wars, unless our leaders had real courage, and the reasoning.

    Of course we're so far from that now. Pretty soon it will all be done behind a "button." As long as the white man is pushing the biggest one's, at least we can hope to have our own land someday...again.

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