Elon Musk warns US General to prepare for space warfare

'We've got to make Starfleet happen,' says SpaceX CEO

Related Video: Andrew Cuomo says New York state has a 'six day' ventilator stockpile
Related Video: Andrew Cuomo says New York state has a 'six day' ventilator stockpile

Elon Musk has told a top US Air Force General “the fighter jet era has passed”, predicting wars will soon be fought using unmanned drones and space-based technology.

Speaking with Lieutenant General John Thompson at the AirWarfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, the SpaceX chief executive praised the US Space Force, which was unveiled last year by Donald Trump.

The latest branch of the US Military has been widely mocked, with detractors pointing out the similarities between the Space Force logo and that of Star Trek, as well as the terrestrial camouflage used for the uniform.

The role of the new command is to protect satellites and other space-based infrastructure, while also conducting space operations to assist troops on the ground.

“I think it’s actually cool that the creation of the Space Force is happening,” Mr Musk said. “It makes sense that there’s a major branch for every domain... I have zero doubt that if the United States does not seek great innovations in space, it will be second in space, as sure as night follows day. So it’s a big deal.”

Mr Musk said he hoped the US Space Force would result in a fleet of space craft, similar to that found in Star Trek.

“We’ve got to make Starfleet happen,” he said. “When the public hears ‘Space Force,’ that’s what they think. It’s like, ‘OK, we’re going to have some sweet spaceships and pretty good uniforms and stuff’.”

Space Force uniform was unveiled to derision

Mr Musk said innovation in air warfare systems would soon see autonomous aircraft replace current piloted craft, saying “if you don’t push for radical breakthroughs, you’re not going to get radical outcomes.”

He said: “The fighter jet era has passed. Drone warfare is where the future will be. It’s not that I want the future to be, it’s just, this is what the future will be.”

He claimed the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons system – Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet – should have a competitor in order to prevent the US military from falling behind other countries like China. Mr Musk provided more details of what this F-35 competitor should look like on Twitter following the event.

“The competitor should be a drone fighter plane that’s remote controlled by a human, but with its manoeuvres augmented by autonomy,” he wrote. “The F-35 would have no chance against it.”

Other Twitter users pointed out that the need for a human pilot increased costs and limited performance of modern fighter jets, as it adds the requirement of ejection seats, pressurized cockpits, and other features.

A remote-controlled jet would also not be restricted by the amount of G-Force the human body can withstand, however it may be more vulnerable to being hacked or interfered with by malicious actors.

Aerospace firms are already working on self-piloted jet fighters, with Boeing developing a windowless warplane that could be ready for operational use by the mid-2020s.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in