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In order to compete for future air superiority, the Pentagon has invested heavily in artificial intelligence systems. The US Air Force is accelerating the development of artificial intelligence fighters through the transformation of old retired fighters. At the same time, the US Navy also proposed a sixth-generation fighter design based on artificial intelligence.

The US “Wired” website said on June 27 that the US Air Force and Boeing are promoting the QF-16 plan, trying to convert the retired F-16 fighter aircraft into an unmanned aircraft, which can be preset according to the absence of pilot control. For route flight, there will be 32 QF-16s serving as target aircraft in weapons testing in the Gulf of Mexico in 2020. But the goal of the plan is far from being limited to target aircraft. According to reports, the QF-16 can carry a full set of F-16 weapons to perform combat missions. Because it does not need to consider the pilot’s ability to withstand, the ultimate performance of the QF-16 has been improved, and various aerobatics can be easily completed. “It can perform decoy tactics, distract the enemy’s attention on the radar, and cover the secret penetration of manned stealth fighters.”

The report mentioned that with the help of the accumulated experience of QF-16 in the field of unmanned driving, the US Air Force is developing a new generation of artificial intelligence fighter aircraft. The autonomous unmanned combat aircraft (Skyborg) project being developed by the US Air Force will launch a prototype in 2023. “This type of autonomous fighter may change air combat.” In addition to being able to perform high-risk tasks autonomously, they can also exchange information and cooperate with traditional manned fighters such as the F-35. Aviation expert Steve Wright believes that artificial intelligence fighters do not need to consider the limits of human physiology, so its shape will change significantly, and the price will be much cheaper-no need to install many safety systems and redundant equipment to ensure Pilot safety.

The US “National Interest” website stated on the 27th that the US Navy is also developing artificial intelligence-based sensors, new weapons and engine technology to design the sixth-generation carrier-based fighter aircraft. Allegedly, the project has ended the pure conceptual design stage and began to explore related technology research and development. These technologies include unmanned combat systems, sensors with artificial intelligence, and new weapons with ultra-long range. The report emphasizes that all relevant technologies need to take into account the characteristics of artificial intelligence update iteration. “The current sensors, avionics and weapon systems are increasingly dependent on artificial intelligence. In the future, through software upgrades, algorithm updates and processor speed improvements, the performance of unmanned fighters can be easily enhanced.”