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  • Philip Osadebay - Tech Journalist

AI Pilots: Pentagon set to acquire super ambitious, affordable pilotless jet fighters

In a bid to deter China, the United States Air Force is planning to design and develop pilotless jet fighters that can fly 30 feet above the ground to their targets or toward a barrage of enemy missiles.

The Air Force hopes to produce at least 1,000 of the mini-fighter jets because of the soaring cost of existing military aircraft and advances in flying software. This is considered to be a major pivotal shift towards a new generation of pilotless jets to bolster a smell fleet from 1947.

The main aim of the pilotless jet would be to escort and protect crewed aircraft such as the F-35 and the new B-21 bomber while carrying their lethal weapons to attack other planes.

The US Air Force launched a $6 billion program for the development of pilotless jets. This program is being pursued by companies like Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin, and Anduril Industries. 

Although the US Air Force had been designing and making big drones for years, most of the drones had been controlled remotely. For instance, General Atomics’ Reapers and Predators have been extensively used to fire missiles in the Middle East. 

This is a major move forward. The collaborative combat vehicle or CCA represents a pivotal move forward, unlike the remote-controlled drones of past conflicts, these aircraft are designed for complete autonomy, and equipped with the capacity to complete complex missions with their artificial intelligence-powered capabilities. This feature will enable the fighter jets to respond dynamically to the evolving battlefield. 

Many flight companies have already taken the skies with their new jets. Among the frontrunners, Boeing’s MQ-28, the Royal Australian Air Force, Anduril’s Fury, and General Atomics, showcased the potential of these flight machines. 

A highly attractive feature of the CCA program is its assurance of affordability. These drones, whose intended cost is far less than that of manned aircraft, are made to be replaceable and may operate in high-risk environments without incurring the same financial and personnel expenditures as conventional fighters.

The use of unmanned combat aircraft by the U.S. Air Force represents a paradigm shift in military strategy, fusing tactical adaptability with technical innovation. With the CCAs ready to change warfare going ahead, the military is well-positioned to meet the difficulties of contemporary conflict with a more deadly, nimble, and efficient force.


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