Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Droning on

Augustine's Law no. 16 states that defence budgets grow linearly but the unit cost of a new military aircraft grows exponentially, therfore:
In the year 2054, the entire defense budget will purchase just one tactical aircraft. This aircraft will have to be shared by the Air Force and Navy 3½ days each per week except for leap year, when it will be made available to the Marines for the extra day.
Because I wibbled that cost and capability problems might get the F-35 do-anything combat aircraft project downgraded or cancelled which, in turn, might lead to air forces deploying a lot more drones a lot more quickly, in the certain knowledge that someone out there would have said some of it more wittly, with citations and a graph.

Others aren't convinced, although the scepticism seems to be directed towards the sort of high-end drones that might supplant something like an F-35, as opposed to the less capable types already operating in areas where local air defences are weak to nonexistent (or have been told to look the other way), a distinction missing from a lot of media drone punditry.

Graph created by Autopilot under this Creative Commons license.