Challenges to Future Air Defense

The world is on the verge of a future where skies will be crowded with manned and unmanned aircraft, said Lt. Gen. Carlo Magrassi, Italian air force chief of staff. Speaking on Monday at AFA’s 2013 Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., Magrassi said this scenario will raise two crucial challenges: safe navigation of the airspace by the remotely piloted aircraft with the manned aircraft, and the management of vast numbers of flying systems and the “huge flow of information” required for their operations. “As we can see, the complexity of the future environment and the enduring security and defense concerns will require [us] to think in an innovative way,” he said. Magrassi spoke of creating of a “soft air defense,” where civil air traffic management and air forces monitor the flux of air traffic, with the ability to take control of the RPAs to eliminate any possible risk to the civilian population.