The Air Force wants a lot of money to create 1,000 to 2,000 unmanned planes that use AI pilots. They seek $5.8 billion, and the AI-driven aircraft is expected to bet the future of air dominance.
These planes, called XQ-58A Valkyries, are designed to help human pilots. They can fly alongside them and do things that might be hard for a human pilot. They are good for dangerous missions where a human might not come back.
Soon, they will be tested in a pretend situation over the Gulf of Mexico. They will figure out how to chase and destroy a target all on their own.
What makes the XQ-58A Valkyrie aircraft special?
The Kratos XQ-58 Valkyrie is a special type of aircraft that doesn’t need a pilot and can’t be easily seen on radar. Kratos Defense & Security Solutions made it for a United States Air Force project. This project is called the Low Cost Attritable Strike Demonstrator (LCASD) program, and it’s part of a bigger plan to create aircraft that aren’t expensive and can be used up without worry. The Air Force’s research lab is behind this project, and they call it the Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT).
When it was first made, it was called the XQ-222. The Valkyrie aircraft had its first flight in Arizona on March 5, 2019, at the Yuma Proving Ground.
These planes can fly at 550 mph and go up to 45,000 feet high. They can travel 3,000 nautical miles. Other models, like the XB-70 Valkyrie bomber, need human pilots and were not made as much.
The Air Force needs $5.8 billion
The cost prediction, which Congress hasn’t agreed on, shows that making these planes will need $5.8 billion over five years. This comes after the Air Force tested the planes for a while. During these tests, the plane was used to send information to other planes like the F-22s and F-35s. It was also part of the Air Force’s Skyborg program, which uses AI to control planes without pilots, just like the Valkyrie.
Each plane might cost between $3 million and $25 million. This is way less than a plane with a human pilot.
The Air Force has been testing these planes for a while. They’ve used them to help other planes and in their Skyborg program. This program uses AI to control planes like the Valkyrie.
Human rights activists are against it
“You’re stepping over a moral line by outsourcing killing to machines — by allowing computer sensors rather than humans to take human life,” Mary Wareham, the advocacy director of the arms division of Human Rights Watch, told the Times.
People are worried about these AI planes. They think giving machines the power to kill is wrong. They’re concerned it could lead to bad things, like a future where machines control everything.
Customers’ data was stolen in a recent American Airlines security breach
Some groups call these planes “slaughterbots” because they can make quick decisions in combat. This could make conflicts more dangerous and unpredictable. It might even lead to really bad weapons being made.
In 2019, the leader of the United Nations, António Guterres, talked about how machines that can decide to kill on their own, without people being involved, are not okay. He said this is not acceptable in politics and is morally wrong. He also believed that these kinds of machines should be banned by international law.
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