VIDEO: Army aviation gets mostly unmanned by 2035

The US Army is not known for having a soft-spot for aviation. So it’s perhaps not surprising that army aviators have been the fastest to embrace unmanned aircraft. On 14 April, the service celebrated passing the 1 million flight hour mark by unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), a milestone that will be feted next month with a celebration hosted by the Smithsonian.

Accordingly, the army released a UAS roadmap on 15 April that sets an ambitious course for aviation. By 2035, nearly every aircraft the army flies will be unmanned. The only two roles left primarily for manned aircraft will be — curiously enough — utility and medical evacuation. But UAVs or optionally-piloted vehicles (OPVs) will dominate flight hours for attack, armed reconnaissance, cargo resupply, communications relay and surveillance.

Read the full document.

You can also watch my video above of the roadmap’s unveiling this morning at the annual convention of the Army Aviation Association of America in Fort Worth, Texas. The speaker is none other than Gen Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the army. 


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9 Responses to VIDEO: Army aviation gets mostly unmanned by 2035

  1. Dave 16 April, 2010 at 4:48 am #

    I’m sure he means well, but the Army has always had a hard time coordinating. So I’ll believe it when I see it. It’s cultural… the USMC does combined arms stuff better, because its just how they roll. They plan everything as combined arms instead of coming up with a plan then and then asking air or artillery ect
    “What can you do for me?” Which is something that happens all too often with US Army operations. Until that changes and the Army learns to train with combined arms in mind all the time I don’t think this will work as they envision.

  2. Royce 16 April, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    This sounds like the kind of grand thinking that gave us the failed Future Combat Systems fiasco.

  3. jetcal1 16 April, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

    I can see this happening…if each platform is designed for a specific purpose and gold plating and mission creep are avoided. I also see a big future in being a FAC equipped with fire control data links.
    But here is the real reason you can probably kiss the CWO program good bye.

    Must be E-5 to fly.

    Over 4 years
    E-5 $2,414.00
    W-2 $3,496.00

    Over 12 years
    E-7 $3,859.00
    W-4 $5,543.00

    Over 22 years
    E-9 $5,571.00
    W-5 $7,068.00

    Remember, it’s all about capability.(Until money gets involved,)

  4. johnny 16 April, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    Task Force Odin has already shown that the Army is capable of getting this done.

  5. Mark Brueschke 16 April, 2010 at 10:30 pm #

    How is this going to work if the USAF gets all the UAV?

  6. johnny 17 April, 2010 at 1:09 am #

    AF gets all UAS(CAPS) above 30,000. That’s why AF wanted control of all UASs becuase they knew in the future they may lose a large portion of their mission.

  7. Allyn M Aldrich 20 April, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    While there are several advantages to using UMVs the major one is cost of loosing one. Even discounting the loss of life in a manned vehicle, the major cost of an unmanned vehicle is generally in the ground control system, not the vehicle it’s self.

    An example would be the loss of a tactical F-16 whith a pilot and $70million aircraft vs a preditor (or other tactical UAV)having a loss of $5 million or less and no loss of life.

    This is the way to go, make sure you kill the other guy while remaining safe.

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