The future of the Air Force is fighter pilots leading drone swarms into battle

CONCEPT ART OF MULTIPLE VALKYRIE DRONES IN COMBAT The Valkyrie is designed for an Air Force “Low Cost Attritable Strike UAS Demonstration.” In other words, it’s a drone that’s inexpensive enough to lose sometimes. Image courtesy of Kratos

 

Cheap, unmanned wingmen could add punch and protection to fighter formations.

The future of the United States Air Force is a human-piloted, $100 million stealth jet guiding flocks of $3 million drones that glide effortlessly into position powered by turbo fans. Thanks to the Air Force Research Lab and drone-maker Kratos, that future of combined human/robot formation is already being tested.

There are many good reasons to want a human in the cockpit of a plane, including their judgement, fast-thinking skills, and the capability to respond to unexpected threats. Continue reading