The Air Force’s multi-billion-dollar fleets drones may have helped against the insurgents of Iraq and Afghanistan. But in a fight against a real military like China’s, the relatively-defenseless unmanned aerial vehicles would get shot down in a second. So once again, the air will belong to traditional, manned bombers and fighters able to survive the sophisticated air defenses.
At least that’s the Air Force’s official position. Secretly, however, the flying branch could be working on at least two new, high-tech, stealthy UAVs optimized for the most intensive future air wars. If that’s the case, the Air Force’s drone era is not only not ending — it’s barely begun.