Future “Top Guns” Will Be Battle Managers Flying Bigger, Slower Aircraft

F-22A Raptor Demonstration Team aircraft maintainers prepare to launch out Maj. Paul "Max" Moga, the first F-22A Raptor demonstration team pilot, July 13. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher L. Ingersoll)

F-22A Raptor Demonstration Team aircraft maintainers prepare to launch out Maj. Paul “Max” Moga, the first F-22A Raptor demonstration team pilot, July 13. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher L. Ingersoll)

At the dawn of aerial combat 100 years ago, World War I flying aces frequently closed to within 15 meters before firing at enemy aircraft with their machine guns. Such intimate encounters helped create a perception of pilots as skilled “knights of the air” who climbed into the cockpits of nimble aircraft to duel their opponents. But a recent report hints at a very different near future, where military pilots fly large, bomber-size aircraft loaded with missiles and command networked swarms of robotic drones. READ MORE HERE

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