The Air Force Turned an F-16 Fighter Into a Drone

Popular Mechanics: “The U.S. Air Force turned an F-16 fighter into an autonomous combat drone capable of flying combat missions on its own and then returning to fly alongside a manned aircraft. The program, known as ‘Have Raider II,’ could lead to older U.S. fighters acting as semi-disposable wingmen for more modern planes, conducting missions too dangerous for manned aircraft to carry out.”

“The program is broadly part of the Pentagon’s Third Offset Strategy, which plans to use existing equipment in new ways to maintain a technological and numerical edge over countries such as China and Russia. The U.S. Air Force will shed more than a thousand F-16s as the F-35A enters service. While older, the F-16s have the advantage of being cheaper to fly and semi-disposable.”

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