US Air Force pushes for $6 billion to create a fleet of 2,000 AI-powered drones

After completing its first-of-its-kind test of the Valkyrie drone, the US Air Force is pushing for a $6 billion cash injection for an entire fleet.

1 minute & 23 seconds read time

The US Air Force is pushing for a $6 billion investment in the construction of a fleet of more than 2,000 Valkyrie drones following a first-of-its-kind flight test.

US Air Force pushes for $6 billion to create a fleet of 2,000 AI-powered drones 3621

It was only earlier this month that Colonel Tucker Hamilton, the chief of the Department of Air Force's AI Test and Operations accelerator, announced the US Air Force successfully completed a three-hour flight test of its XQ-58A Valkyrie, a 28-foot-long experimental, stealth-focussed unmanned combat aerial vehicle.

Following the test, the US Air Force is asking for $6 billion to build a fleet of up to 2,000 Valkyrie aircrafts, with each aircraft costing an estimated $3 million, which is much cheaper than a human-operated F-35 or F-22 fighter jets.

The Air Force writes that the project is designed to create a "Collaborative Combat Aircraft ... capable of enhancing crewed weapon systems to achieve air superiority." So, what will the Valkyrie be used for? These aircraft will be custom-designed to fulfill specific mission operations such as conducting surveillance of specific areas, fighting alongside human pilots, and providing resupply support.

"Any Air Force drone [will be] designed to allow commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment over the use of force," a Pentagon spokeswoman told the New York Times.

"I'm not going to have this robot go out and just start shooting at things ... think of it as just an extension to your weapons bay if you're in an F-22, F-35 or whatnot," said Major general Scott Jobe, the Air Force's director of plans, programs, and requirements, Headquarters Air Combat Command.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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