how your Air Force wants to fly AI-powered aircraft
The U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) proposed Project Venom this week will cost about $121 million and aims to experiment with and refine the country’s aeronautics technology. The program will load autonomous software into six F-16 fighters so that it can be used in a fleet of about 1,000 collaborative fighter aircraft with autonomous capabilities. which will fly alongside Next-Generation Air Dominance combat systems and F-35A fighters.
The collaborative combat vehicles will have the capability to carry missiles and other weapons, so that they can be used in contexts of warlike conflict, and will be equipped with sensors to enable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations. But, in order to achieve these results, the Air Force will will have to experiment with autonomous software on F-16s.
“The idea is that our autonomous flight system is platform agnostic and it’s really important because we’re not going to re-create the wheel every time we go to a different platform…. -commented Dale White, Brigadier General, at the project’s launch event-. Autonomy will be something that will be easily integrated.“.
The planes will take off with human pilots on board, however, the idea is that they will hand over control to the software in mid-flight to check that it works and that it generates the expected benefits. In this way, the Air Force will ensure that its autonomous technology is working well, but cWith an attentive person to reduce the risk of serious problems if there is a failure.
USAF intends to have Project Venom completed within five years, from 2024 to 2028. To do this, they plan to spend between $17 million and $19 million per year, plus the $49.7 million. In total, this would amount to approximately an investment of $121 million.
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