US air force seeking to commission 1,000 AI-equipped unmanned fighter jets

WASHINGTON, Mar 4 : The US Air Force wants to put into service at least 1,000 unmanned mini-fighter jets, including several hundred in the next five years, that can operate autonomously thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The report said such unmanned fighters will be designed to accompany and protect manned aircraft, including F-35 fighters or B-21 bombers. They will also be capable of carrying their own weapons to attack other aircraft and ground targets, and they will also be used as reconnaissance aircraft and communications hubs, the newspaper reported.


Special software will allow aircraft to fly autonomously and adapt to changing battle conditions, the report read.


The budget for the unmanned fighter programme is $6 billion, with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics, and Anduril Industries developing their prototypes. By summer, the Pentagon plans to select two of these companies to sign contracts, the report added.


The development of unmanned fighters in the United States is reportedly being pushed by a sharp increase in the cost of existing aircraft as well as progress in the development of aircraft software. (UNI)