Apparently the Chinese can now read and they've figured out that the best way to defend against a pre-emptive attack is pre-emptively. You launch a pre-emptive attack as they're massing for their pre-emptive attack on you. I realize the logic of that is as bizarre as it is obvious but, c'est la guerre. The Chinese have also figured out that America's aircraft carriers can be sunk and that stealth fighters work just as well, if not better, in defence than they can ever work offensively. That's why China has two stealth warplanes flying - just like the United States.
Turns out the Americans can read too and they've figured out that their chances of a successful first strike on China are a lot more wobbly than they first believed. So now they're toying with the idea of using swarms of nano-bots to attack the Chinese.
From China to Iran, the nations that the U.S.'s famous Air Sea Battle concept appears tailor made to fight, are equipping themselves with advanced Russian-designed radars and surface to air missiles that threaten to shoot down all but the most advanced stealth aircraft. These countries are also investing in anti ship and ballistic missiles that are designed to keep an adversaries ships and especially aircraft carriers far from their shores. One of the traditional responses to overcoming such weapons is to build fast, long-range, high-flying, stealthy aircraft capable of evading these threats. Today, at the massive drone conference going on in Washington, we heard a new, wilder idea.
"As the Air Force is challenged by long ranges [in the Pacific] a nano that is re-chargeable, all the way along the route, is not challenged by distance," said Col. Bill Tart (his callsign is Sweet), the man in charge of figuring out what capabilities the Air Force's drones need. "How in the world are you going to defend against a nano?"
The beauty of long-range drones is that they could come in from any point on an adversary's border, Tart told Killer Apps after his speech.
"You would have to defend everywhere because I have such long range capability," said Tart.
The key to this is making the tiny drones hyper-fuel efficient.
"I've had a lot of people come to me and talk about really interesting [things with] propulsion like fuel cell capabilities, that gives you a lot of range, people are talking about batteries that you can drop off of airplanes" after they run out of juice, thereby lightening the aircraft's load.
But the wildest concept is basically that of a flying iPhone charging dock. The technology allowing drones to refuel other drones in midair is already being tested. Imagine replacing with the hoses and drogues used by gas guzzling planes with cables and plugs.
In case you haven't seen it before, here's a USAF video on "micro air vehicles."