Blog: Stealth, The Next Level?

By Roger Cannegieter
People familiar io the aviation industry all have seen the word ‘unmanned aircraft vehicle’ or UAV. These type of unmanned aircraft are now mainly used on high altitude photography for millitary purposes. Some years ago few people would have imagined these new aircraft types were actually going out on real-life missions. Let me introduce you the future of digital warfare…

A new generation of fighter jet has emerged. Fuel-type used is catalyzed A1 methane. The aircraft is made of Exoskeleton, a metal-ceramic composite with aeroelastic wings. These type of wings are actual ‘complete’ wings, no flaps and slats are attached to it, the wing bends itself to create lift and manoevrability. This new fighter jet uses pulse detonation engines with twin hybrid scramjet turbos. These new type of engines use combustors which are more thermodynamically efficient than today’s combustors. At the same time, engine systems based on these combustors are significantly simpler than current engine designs due to reduced air and fuel inlet pressure requirements. Current engines use deflagration which is what happens when you burn a mixture of air and fuel at reasonably low pressure. Detonation engines however is a far more powerful reaction of the air/fuel mixture and results in such a rapid reaction that the pressure-wave created travels at super-sonic speeds. The new fighter jet’s sensors can pick up any minor movement from five miles away.

This new fighter jet is the latest in unmanned combat aerial vehicles, or UCAVs. Even though this aircraft has so far only been seen in a movie, the terms used do raise questions about how far today’s air combat technology is. With the above mentioned technologies being studied while we speak my question is, to what extend will we actually see such fighter jet take to the skies performing our next new mission in today’s digital warfare. An advantage of these unmanned combat fighter jets is that no human pilot is used but instead decisions are accurately made using very high criteria and parameters calculated by on-board highly advanced computer systems and multiple back-up systems. Targets can be hit with almost a 100 percent accuracy. The disadavantage at the same time of these new fighter jets is that is uses computers which have no instinct or moral judgement or visual awareness of the surroundings as a human has. The difference between a computer and a human is that computers have a more ‘black-on-white’interpretation on most things as it currently lacks the characteristics that a human being has. Another crucial condition is that the information that is being fed to the computer must be accurate in order for the computer to make the ‘right’ decisions.

Even though the computer may still have its weak points we all know that computer technologies nowadays are becoming more ‘realistic’ and are increasingly able to make more precise decisions, in some cases even better than a human being will ever be able to. A computer calculates the risks that come along with each crucial decision in a matter of seconds taking a hundred or more variables into account before making the split-second decision. Humans are increasingly becoming dependant on computer technologies and the evolvement of the so-called artificial intelligence in our new ‘digital-world’.

In my opinion we are getting closer to this new type of digital aircraft. Eventually the technologies will be advanced enough and tested enough to take a more important role in today’s digital warfare. One thing which will be tough to beat is the way humans can work. The simple methods that are sometimes used are almost impossible to beat, even for the most highly advanced computers. But once a target is defined and acquired, we will get to the point where a computer will get you a 100 percent accuracy. The questions only remains: When will we be able to get the right information which contains no errors?

What is your view on this?

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