Friday, December 27, 2013

Now That's a Drone

Israel could conduct follow-on air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities without risking pilots.

By thinking outside the box, I think Israel could get the strike-equivalents to make the initial attack on Iran.

Saudi cooperation based on shared fear of a nuclear-armed Iran makes this easier, as I noted more recently:

What if Israeli pilots quietly go to Saudi Arabia to fly Saudi F-15s on a short flight across the Gulf? Israeli F-15 pilots could use simulators to gain experience with the Saudi cockpit layout. That option could reduce by a considerable amount the number of planes Israel needs to launch from Israel itself, reducing the launch signature that would telegraph the strike to Iran.

One problem is the issue of follow-up strikes, assuming Israel achieves surprise in the first wave. Could Israel re-hit a target once Iran is alerted?

Again, by thinking outside the box, couldn't Israel use older attack aircraft configured as drones?

We have a long history of turning older warplanes into target drones to test new weapons:

The UAV version of an aircraft is superior, in some ways, to one with a pilot in it. This is mainly because pilots black out when the aircraft makes turns too sharply at high speed. The air force discovered how effective this capability was during the 1970s, when they rigged some jet fighters to fly without a pilot and had them go up against manned aircraft. The QF-16 has already demonstrated its ability to carry out acrobatic maneuvers under remote control.

But why couldn't these planes be attack drones, instead? Remotely piloted, they could release precision weapons and either return home or--if damaged--ram a target to inflict some more damage.

Israel does have old A-4s they no longer need, you know.