Airbus launches loyal wingman combat drone out of a carrier
Next-generation fighter jets will go into combat with semi-autonomous wingman drones designed to act as force multipliers. Here’s one in development: Airbus has just dropped its Remote Carrier demonstrator out of a cargo plane, for a mid-air launch.
This test forms part of Europe’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS) program, which will team sixth-generation fighter jets up with swarms of highly automated but remote-piloted uncrewed aircraft to create co-ordinated chaos in the skies. These stealth drones will be kitted up with mission-specific payloads and armaments, for air-to-air, air-to-ground, recon, intelligence and electronic warfare scenarios.
Much smaller and cheaper than fighter jets, they’re viewed as expendable assets, so they won’t have the same long-range flight capabilities as, for example, Australia’s Ghost Bat loyal wingman drones. So a key part of the FCAS plan is to get these Remote Carrier drones into the theater of battle via large military transports like the A400M…