August 09, 2016

The nuclear mission must stay manned

By Alex Velez-Green

A lot of things can and should be automated—but nuclear bombers are not one of them.

Unfortunately, it’s not clear that Moscow agrees.Reports surfaced in July that Russia has begun development of a hypersonic nuclear bomber that can deliver nuclear strikes from outer space. Unnamed officials quoted in the semi-official Russian news organPravda say that the bomber will have an unmanned variant. Their statement has not been confirmed, but the idea that Russia would pursue an unmanned nuclear bomber is not new. The commander of Russia’s long-range aviation fleet, Lt. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, stated in 2012 that Russia was considering developing a “pilotless” sixth-generation nuclear bomber.


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