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Low, Fast, Networked & Lethal: Future Army Airpower

WASHINGTON: The year is 2030, and an Army scout aircraft streaks above the treetops at 200 miles an hour.

At speeds no conventional helicopter could reach, advanced sensors and automation help the human pilots skim over obstacles while staying under radar. Wireless networks link the manned craft to a swarm of unmanned ones: mini-drones to scout ahead, big flying “mules” to haul high-powered jamming pods and racks of missiles. Miles overhead, satellites spot enemy anti-aircraft batteries and warn the pilots to evade, then transmit target coordinates to long-range missile batteries that blast a path for the aircraft to advance.

That’s the vision for Army aviation in future wars, as laid out for us in interviews with senior pilots — including the Chief of Staff.

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