To fly the military’s advanced planes, it required the willingness to strap yourself to a jet-fuel laden machine and push it to the very limits of its mechanical capabilities. Nowadays, unmanned systems have taken the human danger out of some combat missions, though human pilots remain at the sticks.
The Navy’s experimental X-47B combat system won’t be remotely piloted, but almost completely autonomous. Human involvement won’t be of the stick-and-rudder variety, but handled with simple mouse clicks.
Speaking to reporters at the Sea Air Space convention near Washington, reps from both Northrop Grumman (maker of the X-47B) and the Navy said the X-47B would be piloted not by human handlers in some steel box in Nevada, but by 3.4 million lines of software code. The rest of its functions will be able to be handled by non-pilot personnel (or your average child), as they will only require clicks of the mouse; a click to turn on the engines, a click to taxi, a click to initiate takeoff, etc.