Are Combat Helicopters a Dying Breed?

Are combat helicopters nearing obsolescence or are they ripe for a tech-savvy overhaul? As the world leans towards unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), countries are grappling to decide the future of their combat helicopters. In this rapidly changing landscape of military aviation, the future of the Tiger helicopter, once a symbol of air combat power, hangs in balance.

Relevance of Combat Helicopters

In the face of advancements in and teleoperated munitions, countries like the US and Japan are questioning the relevance of combat helicopters. They fear these traditional war birds might be losing their teeth in the modern battlefield. However, the British Army begs to differ. They argue that helicopters could still hold their ground if their use is reshaped to adapt to new technology.

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The Tiger Helicopter: A Future in Limbo?

The Tiger helicopter, a key combatant in the air for many countries, was slated for an upgrade to Standard 3. However, and Germany's withdrawal from the program forced the abandonment of the project. Even , a key Tiger operator, is undecided on the future course for its combat helicopters. There's a buzz amongst officials, including French Minister of Armies, Sébastien Lecornu, questioning the relevancy of upgraded helicopters in the age of drones.

Possible Automations and Modernizations

The French Army Chief of Staff, General Pierre Schill, proposes a forward-thinking idea. According to him, the future of military aviation might witness significant automation over the next 15 years. Choices now hinge between modernizing existing aircraft or migrating to next-generation gear. This could involve a mix of robotized helicopters and drones.

The U.S. Army and its FARA Program

In a similar vein, the U.S. Army decided to cancel its FARA program. This was a plan for a new generation attack and reconnaissance helicopter. Instead, the U.S. Army is now leaning towards a cocktail of drones and space means.

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The Pros and Cons of Drones

Using drones do come with their share of limitations. In the Ukrainian conflict, drones failed to tip the balance in favor of either side. Moreover, as per reports, 70% of drones were electronically neutralized, reaffirming the importance of in current conflicts. Turkish drones, once feared, are now less used due to increased susceptibility to jamming and detection.

The Future of Combat Command

Future combat strategies aim to level up against drones using all available resources. Given the rapid technological advancements, it's a game of balancing human, tactical, and technological skills, or making a decisive move towards current warfare trends. As these choices approach, the future of combat helicopters, such as the Tiger, remains intriguingly poised.

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