How AI-Powered Drones are Shaping the Future of Air Forces? A $6 billion Project

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The project’s goal is to use AI drones along with human-piloted jets to protect them from enemy fire by acting as scouts, communications hubs, or guards with full weapons.

AI-Powered Drones are Shaping the Future of Air Forces

How AI-Powered Drones are Shaping the Future of Air Forces: The Pentagon wants to create AI-driven new planes. They are giving two contracts to five companies to make AI-powered drones for the U.S. Air Force.

The project’s goal is to use AI drones along with human-piloted jets to protect them from enemy fire by acting as scouts, communications hubs, or guards with full weapons.

“Complement and extend airborne missions,” according to a description on Boeing’s website. The plane is made to work with other military planes.

The only company that has shown off its new member, called the Ghost Bat, is Boeing. It could fly just below the speed of sound and go more than 2,000 nautical miles. It’s about 20 to 30 feet long.

How AI-Powered Drones are Shaping the Future of Air Forces? A $6 billion Project

The Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) project is part of a $6 billion plan to give the U.S. Air Force at least 1,000 AI-powered drones.

Some people believe that to get across the huge distances in the western Pacific, we need bigger drones with jet engines. But smaller drones have changed how fights are fought in Ukraine and some other Middle Eastern places where they are close together. The head of the Air Force, Frank Kendall, says that it needs to be made with several skills that normal attack planes don’t have.

The plane has “tactical early warning” and other intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance features, but the highlight, according to the maker, is the “low-cost design.”

Anduril Industries, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin are said to be the five companies that are interested in the Pentagon’s scheme. The Pentagon plans to choose two companies to start making the jets by the summer.

“The concepts demonstrated by these flights set the standard for operationally relevant mission systems capabilities on CCA platforms,” General Atomics’ Senior Director of Advanced Programs Michael Atwood, said.

Lockheed Martin added AI operating systems to its VISTA X-62A training plane in early 2023, which made it possible for the plane to fly for 17 hours. For Lockheed Martin, this proved that it was possible to add AI to its planes.

AI are now being used in Air Force drones
AI is now being used in Air Force drones [Credit: Wall Street Journal and Forbes]
AI is used to make programs that are based on a lot of hours of battle flight experience. People think that these new planes show progress in flying software. People used to be able to fly planes from the ground, but now software lets planes fly themselves and change course when fighting conditions change.

The VISTA X-62A is used by the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at its base in California’s Edwards Air Force Base. People who teach have already said nice things about how quickly war and air tactics can change.

Northrop Grumman hasn’t said or shown what kind of AI CCA unit it could send.