The US Air Force is planning to invest approximately $5.8 billion in AI-powered drones. They want to acquire up to 2,000 artificial intelligence-powered drones which will work alongside human pilots.
They want to build 2,000 AI-powered drones in 2024. Although they might be flown autonomously, the drones would be designed to work with human pilots.
These drones would be used for a variety of reasons, including combat, reconnaissance, and surveillance. They believe that these drones might be used to do dangerous or difficult jobs, therefore protecting pilots. Furthermore, they would be less vulnerable to enemy fire than human aircraft.
The “Collaborative Combat Aircraft” effort is the name given to this project. The program’s goal is to build a fleet of AI-powered drones that can work with pilots to achieve air superiority.
U.S. Air Force Collaborations with Kratos Defense & Security Solutions
The commercial defence contractor Kratos Defense & Security Solutions and the U.S. Air Force are working together to make the Valkyrie drones.
Although these drones are still in the early stages of development, the Air Force believes they will be a valuable asset for the American military.
Major General Scott Jobe, the Air Force’s director of planning, projects, and requirements, has claimed that the Valkyrie drones would be designed in such a way that operators and commanders may use acceptable degrees of human judgment when determining whether to use force. Furthermore, he has emphasized that drones should not be used for strikes in the absence of human supervision.
Why Does The U.S. Want Valkyrie Drones?
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has created a special drone for the United States Air Force dubbed the Kratos XQ-58 Valkyrie. It is meant to be discreet and self-contained. It’s part of an effort to produce Air Force-capable, low-cost aircraft.
The Valkyrie is a compact, single-engine aircraft with a fuselage and wings that fuse together. Its design incorporates stealth and quick, high-altitude flight.
Among the various sensors incorporated are a radar, an infrared camera, and an electro-optical camera. Furthermore, it is compatible with a variety of weaponry, including air-to-ground and air-to-air missiles.
The Valkyrie is intended to be a “loyal wingman” for manned aircraft. This means that it would fly alongside a manned aircraft and provide support, such as carrying weapons or providing intelligence gathering.
It can also be used to carry out operations that would be too risky for human aircraft, such as breaching hostile air defences.
Colonel Tucker Hamilton, who directs the Department of Air Force’s AI Test and Operations accelerator, recently stated that a successful test flight of the XQ-58A Valkyrie drone, a 30-foot-long unmanned aircraft controlled by AI, was completed.
Risks involved with AI drones
Here are some of the potential risks involved with AI drones in a shorter form:
AI drones are vulnerable to hacking and cyberattacks.
AI drones can make decisions without human intervention, which could lead to harm.
Who will be held responsible for the decisions made by AI drones?
AI drones could lead to an arms race.
AI drones can collect data on people and their activities.
AI drones could have a negative impact on the environment.
It is important to carefully consider these risks before deploying AI drones. There are a number of ways to mitigate these risks, but it is important to be aware of them so that they can be managed effectively.
Actions taken by the US Air Force to eliminate risks
The US Air Force is taking a number of actions to eliminate the risks associated with AI drones. These actions include:
Developing secure networks and systems
Implementing robust safety protocols
Creating clear ethical guidelines
Working with international partners
The Air Force is also conducting research and development into new technologies that can be used to mitigate the risks associated with AI drones. These technologies include:
Artificial intelligence-enabled safety systems
The Air Force is committed to ensuring that the use of AI drones is both responsible and safe. The efforts taken by the Air Force will show that these drones are used for good and will help to reduce the risks associated with them.
As a result, before dropping bombs or firing missiles, the crewless aircraft will advocate actions that people will approve of. As part of this setup’s testing, the Valkyrie drone will shortly practice tracking and destroying a hypothetical foe over the Gulf of Mexico.
The AI of the drone will also be tested in this test to see if it can engage in dogfighting without using real weapons.
The Air Force intends to collaborate with commercial businesses to independently develop the drone’s hardware and software, such as Kratos or Shield AI.