Air Force seeks to pit unmanned aircraft with artificial intelligence (AI) against a manned jet fighter

June 29, 2020
Manned jet fighter to cross swords with remote-controlled F-35 jet that will carry out maneuvers augmented by artificial intelligence technology.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Air Force researchers are designing an autonomous aircraft that can take down a manned jet fighter in air-to-air combat, with the goal of pitting the two against each other in July 2021. Air Force Magazine reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

29 June 2020 -- Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, head of the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, said the Air Force Research Laboratory team is pushing the boundaries of what the military can build, compared to the aircraft that already fill the service’s squadrons.

The AFRL team launched its pursuit of an unmanned, AI-driven fighter jet in 2018, aiming to show promise within 18 months. Inside Defense reported in May 2018 the “big moonshot” would first insert machine-learning technology into a less-advanced plane, like an F-16, before trying it in a newer jet, like an F-35 or F-22.

If the artificial intelligence (AI) project works, the invention would join the slew of other AI-enabled systems the Air Force wants to add to its inventory. The Skyborg wingman drone concept is perhaps the highest-profile of those programs, though the Air Force is pushing to add AI and machine learning algorithms to everything from maintenance practices to battle planning software.

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John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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