Army Leadership: Aircraft Systems Need Investment

Senior Army officials spoke of the service’s need for more money in order to improve its fleet of aircraft and develop more capable platforms for the future.

“While trying to make incremental improvements in current aircraft to address current capability needs, there is little room for modernization to the future,” Maj. Gen. William K. Gayler told an audience of colleagues at a Sept. 7 symposium sponsored by the Association of the U.S. Army’s Institute of Land Warfare. Gayler is Army Aviation branch chief, and commanding general of the Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, Ala.

Gayler and Maj. Gen. John A. George, force development director for the Army Chief of Staff programs office, both discussed the need to change the way new systems are developed, with an eye toward getting them to soldiers more quickly. They also said the Army should not spend money on expensive unmanned systems that cannot operate at low levels during complex combat missions. Rather, such aircraft should focus on “supervised autonomy,” Gayler said.

“We don’t need something to replace a pilot,” he said, “but something that reduces the burden on the pilot.”