General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has been selected by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) to support the Skyborg Vanguard Program. Skyborg will become the foundation of Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) autonomous capabilities for a family of future USAF unmanned combat aerial vehicles.
“GA-ASI is excited to continue working with the Air Force to advance the Skyborg concept. Our ongoing investments in advancing unmanned systems over the past 30 years provide a critical advantage for fast-tracking development time and reducing overall program risk,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander.
GA-ASI will modify two of its company-owned Avenger Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) with upgraded datalinks and the core Skyborg System Design Agent (SDA) software, as well as other payloads. These Avengers will then be used as part of various experimentation events in 2021 and 2022, which will enable manned aircraft to control Avengers while in flight and relay specific information between the manned and unmanned aircraft. Flights will be conducted from GA-ASI flight centers in Southern California.
“The Avenger platform is a jet-powered, advanced RPA that is well understood and has undergone more than a decade of research and design. We have already shown its suitability as a next-generation host for advanced AI software. This next phase of integration will combine the Skyborg software with GA-ASI hardware, in order to prove that a dynamic mix of manned and unmanned aircraft can communicate, collaborate, and fight together,” Alexander added.
According to the AFLCMC, the aim of the Skyborg Vanguard program is to integrate autonomous, attritable unmanned air vehicle (UAV) technology with open missions systems to enable manned-unmanned teaming. Skyborg will provide the foundation on which the Air Force can build an airborne autonomous ‘best of breed’ system that adapts, orients, and decides at machine speed for a wide variety of increasingly complex mission sets.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® RPA series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar.
With more than six million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight that enables situational awareness and rapid strike. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas.