The Benefits, Challenges and Evolution of Unmanned Combat Vehicles

Helen Winsor

Wing Commander Chris Thirtle discusses the future direction of the use of UCAVs in the RAF. This interview explores key issues including the core benefits of using UCAVs operationally, the roadblocks stopping UCAVs from becoming more pervasive and whether there will ever be a truly autonomous UCAV. He also discusses the issue of pilots flying remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) without traditional RAF pilot training—and the implications to RPA development, and considers at what point RPAs hold sufficient capability to become part of the force mix.