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The" brain " of an unmanned slave was tested on an Avenger drone

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Image source: General Atomics

The Skyborg artificial intelligence system for unmanned wingmen has taken to the sky for the second time — this time on the Avenger jet unmanned aerial vehicle. As reported by The US Air Force Research Laboratory, the flight lasted two and a half hours.

Skyborg is a program to create cheap maneuverable combat drones and an artificial intelligence system to control them. Such devices should take over part of the strike tasks of manned aircraft. Last year, the US military announced a tender for the development of prototypes of a software and hardware complex-the "brain"for an unmanned slave. For the first time, the "brain" took off in May. It was installed on the UTAP-22 tactical drone of the Kratos company.

General Atomics in January signed a contract with the US Air Force to modify two Avenger jet drones to test the "brain" of unmanned wingmen. The Avenger can reach speeds of up to 740 kilometers per hour, stay in the air for up to 18 hours and carry weapons weighing up to 2.9 tons. The length of the drone is 13 meters, and the wingspan is 20 meters. It has an internal weapons compartment and six external suspension points for missiles and bombs.

The second flight of the Skyborg artificial intelligence system took place on June 24 at Edwards Air Base in California. This time, the" brain " of the unmanned slave was installed on a jet Avenger. The flight lasted two and a half hours. At first, the drone was controlled by an operator, but when the device rose to a safe height, he transferred control over it to the Skyborg system. The "Brain" successfully passed the test for the second time — it responded to navigation commands and adjusted to the ranges of flight modes. This means that in the future, pilots will be able to use the Skyborg system to control different types of drones.

In addition to General Atomics and Kratos, the US Air Force has signed a contract for the assembly and flight testing of prototypes of unmanned wingmen with Boeing. The latter was the only one who has not yet tested the" brain " of Skyborg on their drones. But she has an unmanned Wingman Loyal Wingman in development, about the first flight of which we wrote earlier.

Vasilisa Chernyavtseva

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