The US is looking to use the Australian-administered Cocos Islands – a group of tiny coral atolls in the Indian Ocean – to launch unmanned drones as it continues its strategic pivot away from the Middle East towards Asia Pacific.
So uh, yeah. That awkward-looking thing is Boeing’s Phantom Eye high-altitude UAV design doing a 30-knot taxi test at Edwards Air Force Base on March 10.
I recently read that the latest upgrades on the B-52 will extend it’s service life until 2040. With the price tag of a new bomber fleet, especially one with supersonic capabilities, higher than than anyone is willing to pay our air crews could someday be flying 100 year old airframes. Personally I think drones and flying bombs make more sense than sending heavy bombers into heavily defended targets. When you think about the cost of training air crews and maintaining them, i.e. pay, housing, medical costs and retirement it has to be cheaper to build flying bombs that can take off, or be launched, fly hundreds of miles and strike the target. Why send bombers when you can just send the bombs?