US Air Force to introduce 1000 AI-controlled drones

The US Air Force has been discussing its Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) program since the early 2000s. CCAs use artificial intelligence (AI) to work together with the next generation of manned fighter jets.

The success of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in Ukraine has created new impetus behind the program, which seeks to augment its fighter and bomber fleet with inexpensive AI-guided unmanned aerial vehicles.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the US Air Force plans to develop about 1,000 unmanned, AI-equipped fighter jets over the next five years. The unmanned aircraft will initially act as a “wingman” to complement, protect and support its manned fighter jets, primarily its fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets.

Jet-powered drones will be able to replicate all operational tasks of conventional aircraft, including reconnaissance, as well as targeting both air and ground targets. Given the increase in the cost of modern aircraft, the hope is that drones will be able to produce more aircraft for less money. The Pentagon estimates that the most advanced drones will cost about one-third that of competing fighter jets, with additional savings in pilot training costs.

Even so, the first phase of the program alone is expected to cost about $6 billion. Current contenders for the Department of Defense contracts are Endorel Industries’ “Fury,” Boeing’s “MQ-28A Ghostbuster,” developed in collaboration with the Australian Air Force, and General Atomics’ “Gambit,” which already Have developed prototypes of their proposals. .

Other topics of interest

Magura-V5 maritime drones – the bane of Russia’s Black Sea operations

Under the tutelage of Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s military intelligence agency has gained a reputation for boldness and out-of-the-box thinking – the development of maritime drones is a case in point.

The other main contenders, along with Northrop Grumman, have yet to reveal the aircraft’s design. Lockheed Martin is working on human-machine pairing technology through its Project Carrera and Northrop Grumman is working with AI as part of the US military’s Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) program.

The U.S. Air Force’s move toward unmanned combat aircraft marks a significant shift in military strategy, a new way to combine technological innovation with the tactical versatility that drones have brought to the fight in Ukraine. Is. If successful, CCAs will redefine the future of air warfare, promising a more agile, effective, and lethal force capability.

As manufacturers work on the technology, Air Force officials will examine a range of operational and logistical issues, such as payload capacity, peacetime and wartime runway requirements, fixed and mobile infrastructure, In-air refueling etc.

Another issue to deal with is future unit organization. Thomas Lawhead, the US Air Force’s assistant deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration and requirements, said: “Clearly, that’s exactly what [team] And experimental operations units are going to try and get after: What does the fighter squadron of the future look like?

“These are all issues that have to be worked out as we look at what kind of CCAs we actually end up with. [contractual process]… People in the experimental operations unit will develop strategies, techniques, and procedures for how we want to use them, and then [examine] The best way to organize, train and equip these squadrons in the most efficient, most effective manner,” he added.

U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said: “These drones are not just additions to the fleet. They are potential lifesavers, ushering in a new era where unmanned combatants can play a vital role in winning victories and protecting lives.” do.”

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