RAF top brass calls for more drones

22nd Jul 2009 | 19:24

RAF top brass calls for more drones

Service is accused of being 'too bureaucratic' to embrace robots

An out-going strategy supremo has damned the RAF for its lack of enthusiasm for robotic aircraft.

The Guardian reports Air Vice-Marshal Martin Routledge as saying that the air force was "just too bureaucratic and unwieldy" to embrace new technology.

The RAF currently has just two Reaper unmanned air vehicles (UAVs).

Per UAV, ad astra

Routledge cited the "enormous" potential of unmanned vehicles but that more "drive, effort, enthusiasm" was needed to bring the RAF's plans for modernisation to fruition. He also said that the Ministry of Defence was "not that good at agility and embracing in its normal planning emerging technologies and new opportunities and ideas".

The RAF intends to have six Reaper drones available to deploy in Afghanistan and elsewhere by the end of the year, and has a long term plan for a high tech stealth drone called Taranis.

Taranis, which will have two weapons bay and will have autonomous navigation abilities, is due to start flight testing next year. Earlier this year, the RAF denied rumours that a Taranis prototype was responsible for UFO sightings near a wind turbine that suffered broken blades.

Via The Guardian.

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