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Singapore- Pilotless Planes Form Future Of Military Aviation (17 Dec 2003)

To mark the 100th anniversary today of the first aeroplane flight, Chief of Air Force, Major-General Lim Kim Choon offered his take on the future of Military Aviation. He cited pilotless planes, developments in precision weapons and datalink technologies as examples of future assets.

The face of military aviation changed after the introduction of air-launched weapons that can strike their targets accurately. Such weapons aided the allied forces to hit the Baghdad Nuclear Research Centre during the 1991 Gulf War.

The use of air-launched weapons combined with stealth technology will improve the chances of a mission succeeding. Major-General Lim added that combat forces could integrate datalink operations better by using such technology to share information. This capability would allow a networked force to out-see, out-think and out-manoeuvre the enemy.

Unmanned technologies will also reach a point where robots will be able to conduct routine air missions like surveillance. However, he stressed that the advancement of unmanned technologies will not make the pilots obsolete, as it is the human behind the hardware that drives a mission to success.