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Air Force to Spend $6 Billion on 1,000 Artificial Intelligence Jets

The U.S. Air Force is preparing to add 1,000 artificial intelligence (AI) jets to its fleet as part of a $6 billion contract that will be awarded to a private developer, new reports have revealed.

The Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) project will feature AI-piloted planes that will be able to fly missions too dangerous for manned aircraft, such as flying just 30 feet above the ground at speeds up to 600 mph, according to the Daily Mail.

To put that in perspective, the speed of sound is about 767 mph.

The proposed jets will aid human-piloted missions by escorting and protecting other planes, acting as scouts, and carrying weapons to attack targets on the ground.

Weapons developers Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics, and Anduril Industries are all in the running to win the multi-billion-dollar contract from the Pentagon.

The Department of Defense (DOD) hopes to select two of the competing companies by the summer of 2024 to begin building the jets in order to have them ready within five years.

Each jet has an estimated cost of “$10 to $20 million per plane,” the Daily Mail reports.

“In comparison, a manned F-35 is $100 million new while a B-21 bomber is $750 million.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, the interest in building autonomous systems is based on countering the “China threat.”

The unmanned jets are reportedly going to be smaller than most fighter jets but larger than other drone models and will be able to supplement outdated Air Force fleets.

“They offer a lot of things that traditional crewed fighter planes just aren’t designed to do,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told the publication.

California-based aerospace and defense technology company Shield AI is one of the main developers behind the autonomous flight software.




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