The US Air Force's new ultra-stealthy Long Range Strike-Bomber will be optionally manned when it enters service in the mid-2020s, the service says.
The aircraft will need a crew, particularly when operating inside a comms degraded/comms denied environment deep inside hostile airspace. Moreover, unmanned aircraft just don't have the reaction times and the on-site judgment offered by on-board human pilots.
But crews are mere humans, and as such need food, water, rest, latrines... Unmanned aircraft don't have such frailties, they have enormous persistence. The USAF is hoping to leverage the best of both worlds in the LRS-B.
My acquaintance USAF Lt Col Peter Garretson argues the case for an optionally manned LRS-B in an article he wrote for Armed Force Journal, edited by my former editor and friend Brad Peniston. Read it here.