By equipping the Kratos UTAP-22 UAV with the Skyborg autonomy core system, the aircraft is able to perform various operations independently. According to the Air Force Research Laboratory, the autonomy system is able to detect potential threats, determine their proximity and then identify adequate options for either attacking or evading the enemy.
This first test, which demonstrated the safe operation of the autonomy core system, is named Milestone 1, as part of the Autonomous Attritable Aircraft Experimentation (AAAx) campaign, which will continue with several other tests during the following months.
These test missions, including the first flight test, are executed by the 96th Test Wing, which provides the infrastructure support for the Skyborg development project. A representative of the Air Force Research Laboratory is also part of the Skyborg Vanguard team that conducts the tests, together with the program executive officer for fighters and advanced aircraft.
The ultimate objective of the Skyborg Vanguard program is to develop an airborne autonomous “best of breed” system that is capable of excellent performance in complex combat missions. Milestone 1 is an important step towards achieving this goal, because it is the first time an autonomous system is demonstrated using an Air Force range.