U.S. Air Force takes next step with new, low-cost Skyborg combat drones

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U.S. Air Force takes next step with new, low-cost Skyborg combat drones

U.S Air Force moved forward to low-cost, AI-enabled teamed aircraft with August contract options valued at up to $13.2 Million to KRATOS (XQ58A) or up to $7 Million to General Atomics(MQ-20) in order to support the Skyborg Vanguard’s development.

Skyborg is a program that builds a family autonomous core systems that can be used as wingmen. This autonomy-focused capability was developed to allow the Air Force to operate and sustain low cost, teamed aircraft that can fight adversaries in contested environments.

This program is designed to increase airborne combat mass through the creation of an autonomous transferable foundation that can be used to support a family unmanned, layered air vehicles. This foundation, as designed, will provide unmatched combat capability per $1 by lowering barriers to entry for industry, and allowing continuous software and hardware innovation in the acquisition, fielding, and maintenance of critical mission systems.

Air Force Research Laboratory will develop a set of unmanned and autonomous system technologies that can be used to support various Air Force missions.

According to an AFRL press release, new contract efforts will help the Autonomous Core System integration and continue operational experimentation throughout the fiscal year 2022.

Through the use of large-scale force test events, unmanned and manned platforms will be able to demonstrate future warfighting capabilities. These events will provide crucial information and insight that will help to design a future program.

Brig. Brig. Skyborg has been a team of committed people. We’ll be ready to go in 2023 when the Air Force submits its FY23 President’s Budget.

The Fall 2021 is the next scheduled operational exercise.

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