Missile Technology Was Embraced By Fighter Pilots And The Usaf

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Missile technology was embraced by fighter pilots and the USAF because it aligned well within the culture of air-to-air combat. While it was revolutionary technology, the pilots saw it as an offensive weapon that enabled pilots to gain a tactical advantage over the adversary. Although the missile greatly altered tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), logistics, and even support organizations, it did not seek to alter the fighter pilot culture and was therefore readily embraced by the pilots and the USAF.
Unmanned aircraft provide a striking example of the opposite effect. As discussed above, the character of aerial combat had changed dramatically since its inception, but because culture remained constant, pilots across the time span shared a common identity. The advent of RPA threatened to change their culture and the innovation was firmly rejected by the pilot community and the USAF in general. Even today, the operators of a RPAs remain conspicuously outside of the traditional pilot fraternity, despite the fact the machines they pilot and the missions they conduct are very similar to manned aircraft. UAVs have been seen as a disruptive technology because they undermine one of the core assumptions of an air force run by fighter pilots, to be an effective pilot, you must face danger. According to P.W. Singer, the response from the pilot community and the Air Force was entirely predictable.
The strategic innovator must examine these two case studies to…

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