July 18, 2014

Panel Debates Future of Carrier-based Drones

By Shawn Brimley

Source: Military.com

Journalist(s) Hugh Lessig

Last year at this time, the Navy made history off the Virginia coast when a sleek, computer-controlled drone landed on the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush.

But the future of unmanned aircraft in the Navy is still up for debate, as evidenced Wednesday in a hearing chaired by Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Chesapeake.

The Navy envisions a carrier-based, unmanned aircraft as a way to gather intelligence, patrol around the ship, spot targets for fighter pilots and have limited firepower. Forbes and other critics say these aircraft should pack more of a wallop and be able to penetrate enemy defenses -- essentially working in tandem with manned aircraft.

Just as last year's successful landing, the stakes are being described in historical terms.

"This is a debate not about a program, but the future of carrier-based aviation," said Rep. James Langevin, D-R.I., a member of Forbes' seapower and projection forces panel of the House Armed Services Committee.

Two panels testified Wednesday. First came defense analysts who raised questions about the Navy's program, followed by military leaders who suggested those concerns were overblown.

Read the full article at Military.com.

  • Shawn Brimley

    Executive Vice President and Director of Studies

    Shawn Brimley is Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) where he manages the center’s research agenda and staff. Mr....