Manned, Unmanned on the Merits

Trying to avoid risk to aircrews is not, in and of itself, sufficient justification for removing pilots from the cockpit of the future Long-Range Strike Bomber, said retired Lt. Gen. Christopher Miller, former deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs. Indeed, pilots have always been asked to go into harm’s way and they have done so, he told attendees of AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday. What would make a compelling case for removing the pilots is if LRS-B would be able to accomplish something that it could not otherwise do with humans onboard, he said during the symposium’s panel discussing long-range strike in a contested environment. An example of this would be the bomber providing close air support for an extended period of hours beyond the endurance of an aircrew, he said.