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November 8, 2016 2:00 pm

Israeli Aerospace Official: By 2040, Half of Aerial Strike Forces Around Globe Will Be Unmanned

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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An IAI Heron I UAV in flight. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

An IAI Heron I UAV in flight. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Within a quarter of a century, unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) will comprise half the global fleet of attack planes, an Israeli aerospace official said this week, Israel Defense reported.

Speaking at the 2016 Unmanned Vehicles Israel Defense (UVID) international conference held near Ben-Gurion Airport outside of Tel Aviv, Col. (res.) Ofer Haruvi — the chief technology officer at Israel Aerospace Industries’ Aircrafts Group — said, “There is already talk of sixth-generation planes that are unmanned. Estimates are that by 2040, half of aerial strike forces will be unmanned.”

Haruvi went on to say, “Alongside UCAVs, VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) planes are also becoming vital. There is a need for planes that can take off without a runway or land or sea-based platform.”

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Meanwhile, the African defenceWeb news portal reported on Monday that the IAI-made Heron I unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) — operated by the German Air Force — flew its first operational mission in the West African nation of Mali last week within the framework of the UN peacekeeping mission there.

Technology is not just changing how war is fought in the air. In an interview with The Algemeiner in September, the head of the Robotics Division in the IDF Ground Forces said that while robots will not replace soldiers on future battlefields, they will make their missions more efficient and less risky.

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