“The days of the Navy fighter pilot are almost over—or at least they should be,” writes Fawn Johnson in National Journal. She quotes Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, as saying, “We think that the Navy should be looking at drones to replace manned aircraft. I believe that the F-35 is the last manned fighter aircraft.”
She also quotes Navy Secretary Ray Mabus as having said in April, “The F-35 should be, and almost certainly will be, the last manned strike-fighter aircraft the Department of the Navy will ever buy or fly.”
The question remains, Johnson writes, whether the military industrial complex can keep up with changing technology, given investment decisions made years or decades ago.
“The F-35 program was once the latest and greatest idea, too,” she adds.
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