AI is marking new milestones in military technology, with the successful flight of an XQ-58A Valkyrie drone by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory on July 25, 2021. This achievement reflects advancements in unmanned combat and the collaboration between government, academia, and industry.
Overview of the XQ-58A Valkyrie Drone
Introduction to the Valkyrie Drone
The XQ-58A Valkyrie is a combat drone designed to execute modern air-to-air and air-to-surface skills. The Kratos Defense and Security Solutions produces this drone.
Previous Missions and Objectives
Previous flights of the XQ-58A Valkyrie have supported the Air Force’s loyal wingmen research. The evolution of the drone symbolizes the growth in autonomous combat capabilities.
AI and the Valkyrie Flight
The Flight Details
The test units at the Eglin Test and Training Complex in Florida led a three-hour sortie on July 25. This flight came after two years of work and a partnership with the Skyborg Vanguard team.
Technology Behind the Flight
The lab’s Autonomous Air Combat Operations team developed algorithms for the flight, involving millions of hours of maturation in simulations, sorties with the X-62 VISTA experimental aircraft, and ground test operations.
Significance for Future Warfare
According to Brig. Gen. Scott Cain, the lab’s commander, “AI will be a critical element to future warfighting.” The advancements in AI, autonomous operations, and human-machine teaming are evolving at an unprecedented pace.
Air Force Research Laboratory
The Air Force Research Laboratory is the service’s main research and development center, responsible for creating cost-effective technologies for the country’s air, space, and cyberspace forces. They work on various projects, such as the CCA program or collaborative combat aircraft, aiming to create combat drones that can operate with piloted aircraft.
The successful flight was a result of collaboration between government, academia, and industry partners, emphasizing the importance of coordinated efforts in keeping pace with technological evolution.
The successful flight of the XQ-58A Valkyrie drone using AI technology marks a significant step in modern warfare. The effort underscores the potential for AI in military applications and the need for continued research, development, and collaboration across various sectors.