TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (WMBB) — The U.S. Air Force is touting it’s technology after a successful test flight using the new ‘Skyborg’ system.
“The Skyborg leadership team conducted a two-hours and ten minute flight test April 29 of the Skyborg autonomy core system (ACS) aboard a Kratos UTAP-22 tactical unmanned vehicle at Tyndall AFB, Florida,” officials wrote in a news release.
The news release stated that the unmanned vehicle performed a series of foundational behaviors necessary to characterize safe system operation.
“The ACS demonstrated basic aviation capabilities and responded to navigational commands, while reacting to geo-fences, adhering to aircraft flight envelopes, and demonstrating coordinated maneuvering,” they added. “It was monitored from both airborne and ground command and control stations.”
The Skyborg Vanguard team pairs Brig. Gen. Dale White, Program Executive Officer for Fighters and Advanced Aircraft as the Skyborg PEO, and Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle, Commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory as the Skyborg Technology Executive Officer (TEO). The 96th Test Wing, under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Scott Cain, serves as the executing agent for these test missions.
“We’re extremely excited for the successful flight of an early version of the ’brain‘ of the Skyborg system. It is the first step in a marathon of progressive growth for Skyborg technology,” said White. “These initial flights kickoff the experimentation campaign that will continue to mature the ACS and build trust in the system.”
Those who live near Tyndall may see the Skyborg system in play as the Air Force, “begins a sequence of experimentation events planned over the next several months.”
“Through this operational experimentation campaign, AFRL is leaning forward to get early engagement with the warfighter to deliver a suite of full-mission autonomy on a relevant timeline,” said Pringle. “AFRL is proud to be developing this force multiplier for the U.S. Air Force with our partners at PEO Fighters and Advanced Aircraft and the 96th Test Wing.”
They added that this was the first time an active autonomy capability was demonstrated on an Air Force test range, and is a first step to integrating these aircraft into a complex operational environment.
In the coming months the team plans to demonstrate “direct manned-unmanned teaming between manned aircraft and multiple ACS-controlled unmanned aircraft.”
They added that, “Skyborg will provide the foundation on which the Air Force can build an airborne autonomous ‘best of breed’ system of systems that adapts, orients, and decides at machine speed for a wide variety of increasingly complex mission sets.”
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