top of page
  • Mal McCallion

AI Takes Flight: Autonomous Drone Test Success

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

Remote- controlled aerial combat just got a lot closer ...

The US Air Force's stealthy XQ-58A Valkyrie drone recently completed a successful test flight, demonstrating its ability to carry out aerial combat tasks autonomously. And the secret sauce? New artificial intelligence-driven software.

This test is part of the US's claimed "tiered approach" to maturing autonomy "agents", which involves training algorithms millions of times in simulations and other testing. This includes the Collaborative Combat Aircraft program, or CCA, a key part of the larger Next Generation Air Dominance modernisation initiative.

The milestone XQ-58A test took place at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The flight lasted approximately three hours and was conducted within the bounds of the Eglin Test and Training Complex, a group of offshore training ranges in the Gulf of Mexico.

In recent years, Eglin has become a hub for work on advanced autonomous systems within the Air Force. Taking the idea of aggressive acronyms to bold extremes, it is also set to host six F-16 Viper fighters specially modified to support autonomy testing, as part of a project called the Viper Experimentation and Next-Gen Operations Mode (VENOM).

The July fight test is claimed to reflect a phased approach that the service has crafted to develop, mature, and build trust in AI-driven autonomous capabilities with the expressed intent of getting them out of laboratory environments and into operational platforms.

It's clear that AI is going to be a huge part of the next phase of war. Every new technology, from spears to gunpowder to social media, has been weaponised to harm perceived enemies.

AI isn't the villain here - but it is going to be used by them for their nefarious purposes. It is inevitable that our and our allies' resources will be put into this too.

Made with TRUST_AI - see the Charter:

1 view0 comments


bottom of page