Summary: The drones would fly alongside Air Force warplanes, doing jobs too dangerous or dull for pilots.
Original author and publication date: Kyle Mizokami – May 22, 2020
Futurizonte Editor’s Note: There some lessons it seems we never learn: in War of the Worlds, a virus stops the invading aliens. Perhaps sky drones are useless against viruses.
From the article:
The U.S. Air Force is finally pushing into the world of robot combat drones, vowing to fly the first of its “Skyborg” drones by 2023. The service envisions Skyborg as a merging of artificial intelligence with jet-powered drones. The result will be drones capable of flying alongsiTweet
The Air Force, according to Defense News, will award a total of $400 million to one or more companies to develop different types of Skyborg drones. The drones will be “attritable”, meaning they will be designed to fly multiple flights, but the Air Force won’t sweat it if it loses one. The drones are expected to fly in 2023.
Skyborg was originally conceived as a flying artificial intelligence. Skyborg was meant to operate either as part of a piloted fighter, providing an R2-D2-type assistant to a human pilot, or as an AI flying an autonomous drone on its own. Under its current iteration, the Skyborg AI will fly a high performance, fighter-like drone.
Skyborg drones are now envisioned as combat aerial vehicles capable of carrying out 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.
A Skyborg drone could also carry air-to-air missiles for stealthy warbirds like the F-22 Raptor or F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, fighters constrained in the number of missiles they can carry in stealth mode.