The Rand tanker AOA delved into various platform options, including the use of the ever-more popular unmanned aerial vehicles. The Rand take on a UAV as aerial refueler is thumbs down. “These systems would offer no cost advantages even if their peacetime attrition were at a level comparable to that of manned tankers,” states Rand. And, the AOA states that UAVs have “less operational flexibility than manned tankers.”
After a long period in which munitions were almost an afterthought and sacrificed to pay for other priorities, the Air Force needs to focus on them in order to have the right “package” of capabilities for future conflicts, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said June 7.