In May 1999, then-Lt. Col. David Goldfein's F-16CJ fighter jet was rocked by the explosion of a surface-to-air missile during a mission during the Kosovo War. Ejecting from his aircraft, the future Air Force Chief of Staff landed in a ravine and evaded Serbian fighters until he was rescued by a combat search and rescue team, according to the Washington Post; he was just one of two pilots shot downed as part of Operation Allied Force during the short conflict.
More than two decades after Goldfein's harrowing ordeal, the Air Force is exploring a more elegant option for future combat rescue missions: an unmanned system that, air-dropped onto the battlefield, is capable of whisking downed pilots and other wounded service members out of dangerous territory, Aviation Week reports.
Call it Uber for medevac — just without the surge prices.
If you thought that viral video of a dog-like robot opening doors was a bit to creepy for your liking, then fasten your fucking seatbelt: the South Korean military is getting serious about deploying mechanical birds, snakes, and other animal-inspired military robots downrange in the next five years, which sounds like a Transformers-inspired fever dream turned real.
The U.S. Navy is moving quickly to develop robotic warships that could hunt submarines and other ships, screen aircraft carriers and convoys from air attack and sweep away enemy mines.
But there's another mission the Navy should consider assigning to unmanned surface vessels, Neil Zerbe, a retired Navy officer,
argued for the Center for International Maritime Security: shuttling supplies from ship to shore in the aftermath of an amphibious assault by U.S. Marines.
The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) transits the Hood Canal as it returns home Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Washington, following the boat's first strategic patrol since 2013. (U.S. Navy/ Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amanda R. Gray)
The U.S. naval fleet of the future may one day include submarines without a sailor from bow to stern that prowl the depths of the ocean, navigating mine-infested waters to gather intelligence or even clandestinely drop explosives.
The military views autonomous vehicles as a way to accomplish missions deemed too risky, mundane or expensive for human crews. While aerial drones have largely been tasked with these types of duties for more than a decade, the Navy is now increasingly funding robotic ships and undersea drones to complement the work done by its crewed vessels.