Japanese Defense Foresees Robotic Wingmen in the 2030s

Aviation Week reports that Japan’s defense planners foresee automated, robotic wingmen in the 2030s that will not only carry sensors as forward scouts, but which will eventually be robotic weapons systems that will fire on command when ordered to do so by human pilots. This was reported in a technology roadmap published by the Japan’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA).  The AvWeek summary did not suggest any autonomous decision making by wingmen scout robots.

The AvWeek story continues:

"The plan divides unmanned aircraft into five types, including the two simplest—small, portable ones and those that operate with line-of-sight communications—which Japan already has in service. A third category, which the country is still working on, are those that need relay communications by satellite, such as types the U.S. has relied on for years, like the General Atomics MQ-1 and MQ-9 and the Northrop Grumman Q-4 in various versions. Then there are pilotless combat aircraft and, lastly, aerostats and solar-powered airplanes, both for extremely long endurance."