An article in Popular Mechanics reports that the U.S. Air Force is finally pushing into the worlds of robot combat drones. The first AI-powered Skyborg drones could be ready to fly as soon as 2023.
Air Force's AI-Powered Skyborg drones could fly as early as 2023
According to the service the Skyborg drone merges Artificial Intelligence with jet-powered propulsion. These unmanned aerial systems (UAS) will be able to fly alongside manned fighter jets on dangerous missions. However, the Skyborg drones will be significantly less expensive compared to a piloted aircraft.
According to Defense News the Air Force will award a total of $400 million to one or more companies that can develop various types of Skyborg drones. The drones will have to be designed to fly multiple missions, but since they will be expendable the Air Force will not lose any sleep over a lost Skyborg drone. The AI-powered Skyborg drones are expected to fly as soon as 2023.
The Skyborg drones will be deployed on dangerous missions such as hunting down or jamming enemy air defense networks, carrying out reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines, or striking targets in heavily defended airspace.
The Skyborg drones need to be able to autonomously avoid other aircraft, terrain, obstacles, and hazardous weather as well as take-off and land on its own.
Since the AI-powered Skyborg drones will be a lot more affordable to operate and will be able to fly multiple missions, the service assumes that it can operate a much larger fleet of unmanned aircraft without spending additional money.
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