Currently the two most advanced fighter aircraft owned by the US are the F-22 and F-35, but the prices for both are very expensive, namely USD 143 million and USD 75 million.
With increasing pressure from China, which is steadily adding to its arsenal, the Pentagon is opening up a new program for AI-equipped combat drones.
It includes a request for a budget of USD 6 billion or around IDR 91 trillion over the next five years to build a fleet of XQ-58A Valkyries, which cost “only” USD 3 million each.
Valkyrie is the result of development by Kratos Defense & Security Solutions as part of the US Air Force’s Low Cost Attritable Strike Demonstrator program. This 9 meter long aircraft and weighing 1,100 kg can carry weapons weighing 544 kg.
This aircraft is positioned as a steath aircraft to support and escort the F-22 or F-35 during missions. However, their functions can vary, of course, according to their characteristics. Apart from carrying missiles or other weapons, he can also carry devices for reconnaissance.
In early August, Kratos successfully operated the XQ-58 during a three-hour demonstration at Elgin Air Force Base.
“The AACO (Autonomous Air Combat Operations) team takes a multi-faceted approach to testing unmanned flight using machine learning and AI, and has fulfilled the goal of operational experimentation by using a combination of computing, modeling and simulation, as well as hardware in successive tests. to train AI to fly the XQ-58 safely,” said Dr. Terry Wilson, program manager for AACO.
“This felt strange. I was flying next to something that could make its own decisions, and it wasn’t a human brain,” said Major Ross Elder, a USAF test pilot. However, the USAF ensured that the drone still obeyed orders from humans.
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