The US Air Force is now testing AI in its fighter jets

The USAF has so far conducted 12 successful test flights using AI fighter jets as part of its Skyborg program, including a 17-hour plus flight.

by | Published on 20th Jul 2023

Whichever way you turn, there’s no escaping Artificial Intelligence (AI) right now.

And now, the US Air Force is integrating AI into its fighter jets.

So far, the USAF has conducted 12 successful AI-led test flights.

READ MORE! Buses are using AI to issue parking tickets in US state

Those test flights are part of its ‘Skyborg’ program, which aims to develop unmanned jets.

Apparently, the end goal is to augment human pilots with AI, not replace them.

Clearly, the US Air Force believes the use of AI in aerial combat represents the future.

It brings with it several potential benefits, including enhancing pilot capabilities and improving safety measures.

The Skyborg test flights have been conducted using a training aircraft called VISTA X-62A.

VISTA is a modified F-16 fighter jet upgraded with Block 40 avionics, allowing for flight-testing of digital aircraft designs before the construction of the aircraft.

VISTA has been fitted with software that allows it to mimic the performance characteristics of other aircraft.

The modified VISTA X-62A aircraft has a length of 48ft 7in (14.8m), a height of 15ft 9in (4.8m), and a wingspan of 32ft 2in (9.8m).

It was developed by Lockheed Martin and Calspan for the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

The aircraft is already playing a key part in the acceleration of the development of AI and tactical autonomy capabilities for the USAF.

Test flights have been taking place for serveral months now, including a 17-plus hour flight by an AI agent, the first time AI was used to operate a tactical aircraft.

AI agents perform one-on-one beyond-visual-range (BVR), simulate enemy engagements, whilst also conducting dogfighting exercises against constructive AI red-team agents.

The Air Force says tactical maneuvers are performed autonomously while respecting the airspace boundaries of the real world.



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Adam Gray is an experienced motoring journalist and content creator based in the United Kingdom. Using his media accreditation with motor manufacturers’ press offices, Adam test drives the latest cars and attends new vehicle press launches, producing written reviews and news pieces for Before joining the Supercar Blondie team, Adam was Motoring Editor for Portfolio North magazine, North East Motoring Editor at Reach plc, and provided motoring content on a freelance basis to several lifestyle and business publications in the North of England. When he’s not behind the wheel of the latest car, Adam can be found at his local rink playing ice hockey or supporting his beloved Middlesbrough FC.

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