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DARPA Head to Beef Up USAF for Tomorrow’s Wars

Written by on Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Without question, the United States Air Force is the largest of its kind. It’s got the most expensive aircraft, the strongest weapons, and a massive fleet of flying drones. And yet DARPA is afraid that the USAF still isn’t strong enough.

Arati Prabhakar, the new director of DARPA, recently shared in a press conference that the USAF will need to work hard if it wants to maintain its position as the top dog in aerial warfare. Prabhakar isn’t arguing that the USAF is weak, exactly. It’s just that upcoming advances in technology are going to force the USAF to be more innovative than ever. She stated, “We’re starting to think about how we maintain the level of control we have in the air domain, as a cornerstone of how we think about warfighting.”

Arati Prabhakar

Image source: Wired.com

The problem lies in the uncertainty of the future: “Now it’s 2012, and again, DARPA’s core mission is to be preparing for the future,” she said. “I think it’s a very important time for us as an agency, given our charter, to put our heads up and look ahead and to be cognizant to the complexity of the national order diazepam no prescription security challenge, much broader than the counterinsurgency focus that has … pulled some of our more applied work.”

As you may recall, the USAF recently released a video highlighting the rapid pace of technology and how quickly warfare can change in just a few years. This sounds like the same basic problem – the US has a fleet of drones, sure, but what if tomorrow somebody develops an effective technique to hack into military drones? The US would be as defenseless against this new technology as would every other country, but the US would also stand to lose the most.

It will be a tough challenge, but one that DARPA and the USAF are prepared to meet. After all, Prabhakar’s strategy is to help the USAF focus on what it does well – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. She’s also got her eye on several projects that could help the USAF keep its edge in the coming decades. Long-range missiles, advanced cyber security and cyber-attack strategies, lasers, and innovative drone technology will make enemies think twice about picking a fight with the US Air Force.

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