Current-generation US fighter jets could take to the skies alongside unmanned armed drones for within the next two years. The “Loyal Wingman” initiative could see fifth-generation stealth fighters matched with older craft to reduce the risk faced by the human pilot.
The technology would allow these drones to fly ahead of the fighter in hostile environments to identify and attack targets without leaving human pilots open to potentially dangerous situations. According to the Medium blog War is Boring, the US Air Force (USAF) is moving ahead with new computer algorithms which would allow fighter pilots to take control of the drones from their own cockpit. The drone could fire at targets chosen by the pilot.
Air Force Researcher Laboratories (AFRL) launched the initiative in mid-2015 with a formal request for information (RFI) to the aerospace sector. “Autonomy technologies can enhance future operations and capabilities in contested and denied environments,” the RFI said.
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