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Last week, the United States’ flying services announced they awarded indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts to four companies to build the future Skyborg drone. The four companies, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Kratos, and General Atomics, represent some of the United States’ most experienced aerospace companies.

What is it?

According to the Air Force, Skyborg is an “autonomy-focused capability that will enable the Air Force to operate and sustain low-cost, teamed aircraft that can thwart adversaries with quick, decisive actions in contested environments.”

The program essentially aims to get unmanned aerial systems airborne in support of pilot-centered operations. Skyborg will “provide them [Air Force pilots] with key data to support rapid, informed decisions. In this manner, Skyborg will provide manned teammates with greater situational awareness and survivability during combat missions.”

In an interview, the Air Force acquisitions chief, Will Roper, explained that Skyborg will bring “intelligent mass” to air battles by integrating artificial intelligence with piloted aircraft to maintain the United States’ competitive advantage in the air.

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Category: Science