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Elon Musk: ‘The Fighter Jet Era Has Passed’

Step aside, fighter jets: autonomous drones and manned spaceflight are the future of military aerospace, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium ( More...

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Bill Christy 6
if space continues to be our future, then the target goal is to reinvent the rocket propulsion system. The current systems are outdated, overweight and finite in their ability to"go where no man has gone before."
Dave Hahn 11
Kind of off topic but connected by the drone issue. Allegedly passenger jets are now capable of flying without a crew. Don’t know about you but as a pilot myself I am not getting on a plane flown by someone on the ground with no skin in the game. He can go get coffee while the plane is going down in flames - oh well.
bbabis 3
Why kill pilots too?
Dave Hahn 1
They need to scream also.
kginsberg 10
Another military expert heard from. Was there a statement by Cher as well?
Sounds like a line from the movie" Pork Chop Hill" (depicting the last days of The Korean War and the beginning of the Atomic Era) when the lieutenant told his troops "You may be the last soldiers to ever expect to be in a bayonet charge".
Heatseekerws6 15
and guns were also thought to be obsolete for jet fighters. Look how that turned out
When drones can see for themselves and make decisions about what to do, or not to do, then this may make sense, but until that time the human eyeball and brain cannot be replaces.
Charles Adams 3
Drones can already 'see' far better than any human eye can. Drones can 'see' in wavelengths that humans can't. However, it is the instantaneous decison making powers of humans which takes into account many different human factors that makes humans irreplaceable. No telling what will happen in the future but when one removes the human from the decision chain then one also removes humanity from the chain. It may be that we will have future fighters that are 90% drone, letting the computers fly the aircraft, and a human 'monitor' to make the final decisions where appropriate.
belzybob 11
I seem to remember they said that in the 1950s.....
Kind of like the US Nave and USAF getting caught with their pants down in the beginning of the Vietnam war by not installing machine guns on many of their fighter aircraft.
Dave Hahn 1
The F4 was the best example. The kill rate improved dramatically after that. Sure did love them supporting my unit though with napalm and bombs
bentwing60 0
For another Babylon Bee style chuckle,
bbabis 7
Like many, I grew up on fighters also and have shelves of books dedicated to the machines and those who flew them. But, the writing is on the wall. Humans will not be totally roved from the equation but will move more into control from command rooms and/or motherships that dispatch drones against enemy forces. It doesn't matter how good a manned machine is, if an incredibly fast, maneuverable, and suicidal if need be drone gets assigned to its six, it's going down.
Rick Colaluca 7
same idiot who said there would be 1 million Tesla "robotaxis" on the road by 2020
mariofer 2
An according to 2001 Space Odyssey we would had been traveling to the moon in Pan AM for the last 19 years, and like another post said below, who needs guns on an F4 Phantom. Only time will tell.
cowboybob 6
The Elon has spoken, all kneel and bow...and so it was sayeth that electric vehicles will rule the world and Tesla will pay back All the money they have borrowed and stolen from the taxpayers...amen.
Duane Mader 2
He got NY State to give him a $bil+ to build a solar panel factory that is now shutting down. They are hoping to get something by selling the equipment. Only thing Musk has been successful at is getting taxpayer money.
Rainwash 2
Elon is spot on. I was at a classified briefing years ago when he pitched his rockets, the old guard turned into talk show pundits, and Elon was clearly right, even a dozen years ago. Supporting him them drew lots of criticism, as I expect supporting him now will. As a pilot for 40+ years, and aerospace executive, my educated opinion is he’s right. I’d rather not face a swarm of Chinese drones and missiles much less a Russian 400 series Integrated Air Defense system. Clutching the past is a sure way to miss the future and any level of analysis shows we’re behind on drone and missile tech.
paul gilpin 0
it takes more than cliche quote to advance.
this puppet only knows what JPL tells him.
Tell that to Tom Cruise
sparkie624 2
LOL... I always knew he was an idiot...
Atanu Dey 2
Maybe he's an idiot. But he's definitely a rich idiot.

(I have serious doubts about his hyperloop nonsense.)
Hans Siegl 0
wish I had said that
Faster Gun 1
I'm just here for the comments on this one. Well worth the wait too.
MrTommy 1
Here is an interesting argument against Musk's claim. I watch a lot of this guy's videos, and they are interesting.
SFOBro 1
Let's see how the Space Force does. Does China win this singular race?
deegeedee 1
All you Vietnam F4 people have forgotten that AI and Machine Learning did not exist back then. Also, "It'll never fly Orville."
WhiteKnight77 1
We haven't forgotten, just understand that there will always be a need for humans, at least for the forseeable future. Until humans are replaced in government (doubtful that will ever happen), humans are going to be needed in the military, including pilots. No drone pilot will ever have the situational awareness that comes from being able to swivel one's head to look behind one's self. The amount of sensors that would be needed to do such will add cost as well as weight to any pilotless fighter. What would the military give up, range, speed or agility?

Also, would you trust a robot to do a pre-flight inspection of the plane you are getting ready to fly to your vacation on?
David Geden 1
well that’s no fun.
John Morgan 1
I agree Both bomber and fighter drones controlled from the ground could be cheaper and with our pilot death
Larry Horton 1
May very well be right. New weapons and aircraft are making the need for fighter obsolete while the need for small attack and close air support aircraft has increased.
Richard Fox 1
Dave Steele 1
Manned fighters are less likely to be jammed and commandeered by the enemy (recalling Iran and the US drone it allegedly jammed/downed).
WhiteKnight77 1
I keep seeing people say that robots and drones will replace humans. Not ever. There are too many things to go wrong, especially in combat for drones to be doing the dogfighting. As we saw with planes built prior to 'Nam, planes need guns and everyone built since then, has had them.

There are way to many things that require the Mk I, Mod. 1 eyeball, even if it needs glasses. NDT, inspections and combat are those very things. Billy Mitchell and others always thought the bombers would get through, and to a point, they did, but with heavy losses during WWII. They still got through again during 'Nam, even with SAMs, though with heavy losses. With stealth, the bombers stand a better chance now, even when actually piloted by humans that can see what is on the targeting radar or other optical system that AI or other type machines will not be able to necessarily discern. The same goes with fighters. Humans have the capacity to process said information faster on the scene than somewhere thousands of miles of way over radio waves that could be jammed.
Hans Siegl 0
Heard that foolish announcements since the early sixties. Moron.
Richard Fox 0
Suppose its for the better. Much like aerial fire fighters. Maybe they should be 747-sized drones... At least it eliminates human risk. idk. As I said, this future is being forced upon us. Whether we like it or not, unless you're an electrician, nurse, or educator/teacher, you've got no hope.
Have a good day all,
Richard 'Big Dick' Fox
Bernd Schubert -3
It's time to think about making the world better and not think about idiotic weapons. If you feel like fighting, then go to your computer game. Sometimes I think the world is full of morons.
jagerardi 14
As long as one person on this planet wants to misbehave, fluffy bunnies like you can still sleep well knowing men and women are still willing to go in harm's way to protect you.

As long as they are, we will need these things.

Curt Rampton 2
Sheep Dogs don’t “feel like fighting “
Sheep dogs are necessary to protect the flock who are thinking “why don’t we make the world a better place and get rid of the sheep dog He might bite me”

Sheep dogs keep Wolves away !

Gary Stemen 0
AI and unmanned aircraft will not replace pilot control of any airframe in combat conditions..

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Greg S 9
Orange man bad. Check.
Nukes are scary. Check.
I'm smarter than religious people. Check.
Please acknowledge my superior virtue. Check.
lyn williams 2
AUTO FIRE OFF. (I want to pull the trigger myself whilst removing Superior Virtue from the gene pool).
John Trott 1
How and why has this comment been downvoted?
kginsberg 1
The explanation as to how it got downvoted is actually quite simple. There is a little up and a little down arrow off to the right of any comment. If one clicks on the down arrow that registers as a downvote, if one clicks on the up arrow it registers as an upvote. So based on that it would logically follow that many more people clicked on the down arrow than the up arrow. After you are around the forum a while I am sure the method of up and down voting will become a lot clearer. .
SFOBro 1
And yet, The Puppeteers will be jumping up and down in ecstasy when it happens.
paul gilpin 0
all you snowflakes get down on your knees before your god elon.

this guy is an idiot.
just because NASA gave him JPL to play with and billions of dollars of taxpayer money throught CIA transfers, In-Q-Tel, he is supposed to know something. he only knows two things, ignorance and arrogance. there is a reason no judge or alphabet agency will cross him, and that is not good for the rest of us.
patrick baker 0
the longevity of fighter planes shrunk thanks to anti aircraft missiles, both ground based and on other planes. I like the chances of any fighter with a posse of armed UAV's , so slow down MR Musk, please just this once.
srobak -3
I bet the air Force is seriously regretting letting him come speak now aren't they. Moron
mdburd 2
He's probably pissed they denied his request for tickets to the Maverick premier.
mdburd 1
And yes, I know that's Navy, not Air Force.
srobak -3
Really? One of you dipshidiots downvoted this comment? You're actually thinking this guy has anything remotely intelligent to say about this stuff? Let's see - how many years... no wait... months... no.... wait - days.... hrm... no - maybe hours? Minutes? SECONDS? Of strategic or tactical combat experience... or battlefield experience at all (and no - I don't mean the damn video game) does this guy have? Yep - that's right... NONE ZERO ZILCH. Hell - is there LESS than 0 experience possible? If so - that's what he has. You cannot seriously tell me you want to stand up for a guy who not only has zero background but also hasn't been involved or briefed by our military brass and commanders? This is a military-made decision, not some pie-in-the-sky dude. GTFO with that...
srobak -1
And even more? Wow the quality of this group had really give down hill. So sad.
Gary Holden -2
I remember the pinheads from Washington trying to run the Viet Nam war thinking the same thing and then having to scramble to outfit the F-4's with guns.
Randy Marco 2
The pinhead were the ones fighting an UN-WINNABLE war that supported a corrupt S. Vietnam government that people DID NOT WANT!
Bernd Schubert -6
Unfortunately, that seems to be true.
But: Mathew 26,52
Then Jesus said to him: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword.
Isaiah 2,4
He will render judgment among the nations And set matters straight respecting many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares. And their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, Nor will they learn war anymore.

Until then we have to shoot each other down the pear and pollute the environment with senseless things.

But never mind! Mr Musk will live on Mars. Hopefully, he stays there!

Cheers meal!


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