Here’s an idea for an awesome dogfighting aircraft. Make it small, light, and fast. Build it out of materials that are hard to detect on radar. Even give it a laser cannon.

Oh, and don’t put a human in the cockpit. In fact, don’t even closely tie the drone to human ground control. Because in an aerial knife fight, a computer-controlled machine will beat a human pilot.

That’s the idea behind a controversial proposal by U.S. Air Force captain Michael Byrnes, an experienced Predator and Reaper drone pilot. Byrnes is calling for the development of a robotic dogfighter, which he calls the FQ-X, that could blow manned fighters out of the sky.

“A tactically autonomous, machine-piloted aircraft … will bring new and unmatched lethality to air-to-air combat,” Byrnes writes in Air and Space Power Journal.

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