The U.S. Navy says stealth drones could be used to attack enemy planesGeorge Dvorsky2/14/14 5:20pmFiled to: futurismmilitary technologystealth dronesUCLASSUAVsdronesrobotsroboticsscience25EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkImagine a scenario where a human pilot is accompanied by a fleet of robotic wingmen, each of them ready to attack any wayward enemy aircraft that dares to get in their way. The U.S. Navy says it's a distinct possibility — one that's not beyond current technological capabilities.AdvertisementTop image: Lockheed Martin UCLASS.Now that the U.S. military has these handy-dandy Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) weapons, it's seriously considering their use in an air-to-air role. So says USNI News who recently interviewed the Navy's director of air warfare Rear Adm. Mike Manazir. This is an intriguing development because UCLASS vehicles were specifically designed for strike roles, intelligence, and surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). Here's how the proposed system would work: Take a UCLASS aircraft, like an X-47B UAV, and equip it with a bunch of AMRAAMs (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles). Because it's just a drone, it would serve as a virtual airborne transport truck — it doesn't have the capacity (or the legal provision) to instigate an air-to-air attack on its own (at least not yet). So each UCLASS would be be accompanied by a human pilot flying, say, a Northrop Grumman E-2D Hawkeye or a Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter. These human flight leaders would remotely command the UCLASS vehicles and serve as the decision-maker. ShareTweet Kinja is in read-only mode. We are working to restore service.