USAF Conducts First-AI Flight With Stealth Drone

By Tyler Durden

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) completed the first-ever flight of an AFRL-developed stealth drone powered by artificial intelligence software.

On July 25, the machine-learning-trained, artificial intelligence-powered XQ-58A Valkyrie flew a three-hour sortie at Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base.

“The mission proved out a multi-layer safety framework on an AI/ML-flown uncrewed aircraft and demonstrated an AI/ML agent solving a tactically relevant “challenge problem” during airborne operations,” said Col. Tucker Hamilton, chief, of AI Test and Operations, for the Department of the USAF.

Hamilton continued, “This sortie officially enables the ability to develop AI/ML agents that will execute modern air-to-air and air-to-surface skills that are immediately transferrable to other autonomy programs.”

Eglin has become the testing ground for advanced autonomous systems within the USAF. Last November, the service received two Valkyrie stealth drones assigned to the 40th Flight Test Squadron.

In past press releases, AFRL describes the Valkyrie as a “high-speed, long-range, low-cost unmanned platform designed to offer maximum utility at minimum cost.”

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It was designed and built with Kratos Defense and is part of the Air Force’s loyal wingmen research.

“AI will be a critical element to future warfighting and the speed at which we’re going to have to understand the operational picture and make decisions,” Brig. Gen. Scott Cain, the lab’s commander, said in the announcement.

Cain noted, “AI, Autonomous Operations, and Human-Machine Teaming continue to evolve at an unprecedented pace and we need the coordinated efforts of our government, academia, and industry partners to keep pace.”

AFRL provided no specifics about onboard systems or what type of missions the stealth drone would replace, usually performed by piloted aircraft.

This comes as the world is locked in an AI arms race, and bilateral relations between the US and China continue to sour.

In June, an AI-enabled drone turned on and “killed” its human operator during a simulated USAF test.

The future is clear: unmanned intelligent drones are set to wreak havoc on the modern battlefield.

Source: ZeroHedge

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