DARPA and Boeing are jointly implementing another amazing project that is to change beyond recognition future air combat and the implementation of even the most daring missions. It is about Air Combat Evolution (ACE), i.e. a system of cooperation between pilots, drones and artificial intelligence. The Pentagon wants to ultimately eliminate pilots, but before that happens, it wants to support them with the latest artificial intelligence systems and use the advantages of each side and give them an advantage in all conditions and over each enemy.
Systems like ACE have a future and practical application because they can be quickly modified as technology evolves and directly deployed on the fly. The Pentagon will soon also have at its disposal flying vehicles that will finally make this controversial vision of the use of robots and artificial intelligence on the battlefields a reality.
As part of the project called Boeing Airpower Teaming System, a large, technologically advanced drone is being built. It is currently in the advanced prototype stage, but Boeing is already testing it at an airport in Australia. The company announces that it will appear in the sky later this year. The machine looks amazing, and it will be even more interesting when performing the role of a wingman in the air.
Loyal Wingman is meant to be literally packed with state-of-the-art electronics. Its attribute is to be full autonomy. Boeing intends to implement in it all the most groundbreaking technologies it has developed. The drone is 12 meters long and has a range of 4,000 kilometers. Thanks to such vehicles, pilots will be able to obtain more data needed to precisely and effectively strike ground installations during conflicts.
The machines are also supposed to help fighters manage to suppress and destroy enemy air defenses at long distances. Interestingly, the front of the Loyal Wingman drone can be quickly replaced with one of the three versions. Each of them is adapted to perform a different type of mission.
The Pentagon is also carrying out other projects related to drones supporting airplanes. These are the XQ-58A Valkyrie machines from Kratos Defense. They are to function as wingers in swarm technology when performing difficult missions, i.e. several such machines will be assigned to individual F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II fighters.
The costs of building such drones are already so low that the army will gain hundreds of such machines in a few years. They have a range of 2,700 kilometers and can reach speeds of up to 1,200 km / h in the air. Valkyrie are to carry two small diameter GBU-39 bombs on their decks. The first tests for the United States Air Force took place in the spring, and they will enter service later this year.