The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works hangar in Palmdale, California. Wikipedia

Loren Thompson, Forbes: Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works Is Cooking Up A Revolution In Drone Technology

In the years since the 9-11 attacks, unmanned aircraft — “drones” — have become the signature combat system of America’s global war against terrorists. According to the Air Force, its fleet of Predator and Reaper unmanned aircraft flew an average of 1000 hours per day last year over places like Iraq and Afghanistan, generating full-motion video and other reconnaissance that has become crucial to coalition military operations. The joint force routinely uses Reaper, a hunter-killer drone, to take out terrorists and insurgents where they hide because of its ability to loiter for many hours above suspected sanctuaries until enemies show themselves.

Such exploits have spawned widespread speculation that one day unmanned systems will dominate warfighting, taking the place of traditional combat systems not just in the air but on the ground and beneath the sea. For instance, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus recently told an audience that “unmanned systems, particularly autonomous ones, have to be the new normal in ever-increasing areas.” Mabus believes the F-35C fighter his service is developing will be the last manned fighter to fly off carrier decks.

WNU Editor: They are certainly spending the money in developing new and better drone technology .... and with such a high-level commitment I do expect a "revolution" in drone technology to be in the pipeline .... the only question that needs to be answered is when will we see it.

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