Military

Skyborg combat drone's "brain" flies for the first time

Skyborg combat drone's "brain"...
The ACS demonstrated basic aviation capabilities and responded to navigational commands in its first flight test
The ACS demonstrated basic aviation capabilities and responded to navigational commands in its first flight test
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The ACS demonstrated basic aviation capabilities and responded to navigational commands in its first flight test
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The ACS demonstrated basic aviation capabilities and responded to navigational commands in its first flight test
The Skyborg autonomy core system launches aboard a Kratos UTAP-22 tactical unmanned vehicle
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The Skyborg autonomy core system launches aboard a Kratos UTAP-22 tactical unmanned vehicle

The US Air Force has flight tested the Skyborg combat drone's Autonomy Core System (ACS) for the first time. The "brain" of the autonomous Skyborg was installed in a Kratos UTAP-22 tactical uncrewed vehicle at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and carried out a two-hour-and-10-minute flight.

Though the full Skyborg drone is still under development by BAE Systems, the ACS that will control it is far enough along for field testing. The April 29, 2021, flight of the ACS by the 96th Test Wing marks Milestone 1 of the Autonomous Attritable Aircraft Experimentation (AAAx) program to produce a military drone that is advanced enough to work with conventional aircraft, but cheap enough to be expendable if necessary.

During the test, the ACS was able to carry out basic flight functions and respond to navigation commands as it negotiated with geo-fences. It was also able to operate within aircraft flight envelopes and handle coordinated maneuvering while being monitored by airborne and ground stations. Later tests will focus on direct crewed and uncrewed teaming with multiple aircraft and ACS-controlled drones.

The Skyborg autonomy core system launches aboard a Kratos UTAP-22 tactical unmanned vehicle
The Skyborg autonomy core system launches aboard a Kratos UTAP-22 tactical unmanned vehicle

The Skyborg Vanguard program is tasked with producing a low-cost vehicle with full-mission autonomy that can also be networked for manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T). Skyborg is designed to be able to automatically adapt to changing mission circumstances, and its sensors and other payloads will carry out reconnaissance for fighter planes while offering extra protection.

"We’re extremely excited for the successful flight of an early version of the ’brain‘ of the Skyborg system," says Brigadier General Dale White, program executive officer for fighters and advanced aircraft. "It is the first step in a marathon of progressive growth for Skyborg technology. These initial flights kick off the experimentation campaign that will continue to mature the ACS and build trust in the system."

Source: US Air Force

8 comments
8 comments
Bodger
I saw that image and the first thing that came to mind was "BOMARC". Of course I'm a really old guy.
Username
Another realised piece in the Skynet prophecy.
Simon McCombe
First, I think the guy who came up with the name “Skyborg” deserves a free lunch and a six pack of his choice.

Secondly, I don’t know if this is some sort of military secret so don’t tell me if I would have to be killed afterwards but why does the thruster (or whatever) extend so far behind the drone compared with a fighter jet? It’s almost like it’s a plane trying to grow into a rocket or a rocket trying to grow into a plane.

Thirdly, keep up the good work. The harder it is to take out American lives in war time, the more thugs and oligarchs will think twice about engaging your country. They know that the US public has a limit to what level of casualties it can accept politically and they can use that limit to force the military to back down.
Wombat56
Simon McCombe, I think that's just a rocket booster for ground launch, discarded once the UAV is in the air. The aircraft is also able to be air launched from underneath a carrier aircraft, in which case the booster is unnecessary.
stevendkaplan
This reminds me of that one power up from the 19XX flying game. It would also give you drones to help you fight the bad guys.
Zerozen
This is great of Air Warfare, imagine the fast air response of interception and lunch anywhere like on a truck, no need of airport. This will have serious implication on land/air battle space. but lunching soon the be a "figther" version via Aviation carrier ( Aka Drone Aircraft Carrier) platform, USAF will finally compete will the traditional surface carrier platform.
bwana4swahili
"Skyborg"... Skynet and Borg; both rather nasty!!
genegough
Right out of FX Holden’s Future Wars