Episode 9 – The Future of Air Combat: Manned-Unmanned Teaming

Episode Summary

Episode 9 of Mitchell Institute’s Aerospace Advantage podcast explores the future of manned-unmanned aircraft teaming—one of the biggest developments that will shape the future of air combat. Thanks to advancements in autonomy, machine learning, computer processing power, and the ability to connect and share information, unmanned aerial vehicles and traditional crewed aircraft will partner in incredibly complementary ways. Host Lt Col. (ret) John Baum speaks with combat pilot Col Don “Stryker” Haley, one of the Air Force’s top experts on the subject, Col (ret) Mark Gunzinger of the Mitchell team, as well as two of the leading aerospace industry experts in this realm: Steve Fendley, president for the unmanned systems division at Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, and Mike Atwood, Senior Director for Advanced Programs at General Atomics.

Full Topic Guide

In Episode 9 of the Aerospace Advantage host John “Slick” Baum explores the future of air warfare in manned-unmanned teaming. He is joined by Mitchell topic expert Col (ret) Mark “Gonzo” Gunzinger, Air Force expert and combat pilot Col Don “Stryker” Haley, and industry leaders Steve Fendley of Kratos Defense & Security Solution and Mike Atwood of General Atomics.

Manned-unmanned teaming was not always a possibility, but recent technological developments are turning this future concept into reality. To kick off the discussion, Slick and Gonzo discuss the technological developments surrounding this concept.

Next, Col Don “Stryker” Haley describes current Air Fore thinking regarding the requirement for manned-unmanned teaming and how it may be employed in the future battle space.

Finally, Mike Atwood of General Atomics and Steve Fendley of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions describe how industry is building the systems that will manifest this vision through Air Force Research Lab’s Skyborg prorgam.

Time Marks

04:20 – Gonzo joins the show to discuss the technological developments that have led to manned-unmanned teaming in theory and practice

13:22 – Col Don “Stryker” Haley speaks to the developments in the Pentagon that is bringing this capability to life

29:38 – Steve Fendley of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions and Mike Atwood of General Atomics join the show to describe how industry is working to bring these capabilities online


Host: Lt Col John “Slick” Baum, USAF, ret.

Producer: Daniel C. Rice

Executive Producer: Douglas Birkey

Guest: Col Mark “Gonzo” Gunzinger, USAF, ret.

Guest: Col Don “Stryker” Haley, USAF

Guest: Steve Fendley, President, Unmanned Systems Division, Kratos Defense & Security Solution

Guest: Mike Atwood, Senior Director for Advanced Programs, General Atomics

The Mitchell Institute’s Skyborg Report
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