American defense firms Kratos and General Atomics have announced their latest milestones in providing autonomous capabilities to combat aircraft.
General Atomics said in a recent press release that it flew an Avenger MQ-20A aircraft using an artificial intelligence (AI) pilot.
The test flight made use of the company’s Reinforcement Learning architecture, allowing aerial platforms to autonomously make decisions in challenging real-world scenarios.
It also involved Lockheed Martin’s infrared sensor to generate live tracks of adversaries and enable the MQ-20A to avoid them.
“The flight was a tremendous success and demonstrated a number of groundbreaking capabilities in the race to operationalize autonomy for Collaborative Combat Aircraft,” General Atomics official Michael Atwood said.
“It’s exciting to see how AI can be used to advance how and where we fly unmanned systems as the complexity of the battlespace increases.”
Kratos’ Recent Achievement
In a separate press release, Kratos revealed that it has validated 17 distinct unmanned aircraft system capabilities after another successful flight test of its family of Collaborative Combat Aircraft.
The capabilities include a range of autonomous flight profiles such as autonomous self-navigation and network-based encrypted communications.
The company has also validated the aircraft’s ability to operate collaboratively with other platforms and carry a variety of weapon systems.
“The DoD (Department of Defense) has reported consistently, especially in the last several months, that runway independence and the ability to operate from multiple non-large base locations is a critical enabler for our military’s successful operations in the most critical enemy threat scenarios,” Kratos President Steve Fendley explained.