Military Industrial Complex unveils pilotless warplanes

Boeing has revealed that it has retrofitted retired fighter jets to turn them into drones. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24231077   It said that one of the Lockheed Martin F-16 made a first flight with an empty cockpit last week.  It carried out a series of manoeuvres including a barrel roll and a “split S” – a move in which the aircraft turns upside down before making a half loop so that it flies the right-way-up in the opposite direction. This can be used in combat to evade attack.
Boeing said the unmanned F16 was followed by two chase planes to ensure it stayed in sight, and also contained equipment that would have allowed it to self-destruct if necessary.
The firm added that the flight attained 7Gs of acceleration but was capable of carrying out manoeuvres at 9Gs – something that might cause physical problems for a pilot.
“It flew great, everything worked great, [it] made a beautiful landing – probably one of the best landings I’ve ever seen,” said Paul Cejas, the project’s chief engineer.
This is not the first time a jet has been retrofitted to fly without a pilot inside. The US Air Force has previously used adapted jets for target practice.
A spokesman for the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots warned of the temptation to use them in warfare.
“I’m very concerned these could be used to target people on the ground,” said Prof Noel Sharkey.
“I’m particularly worried about the high speed at which they can travel because they might not be able to distinguish their targets very clearly.
“There is every reason to believe that these so-called ‘targets’ could become a test bed for drone warfare, moving us closer and closer to automated killing.”

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