Science & Technology

Watch this Boeing fighter drone fly for the first time

First flight in Australia. (Boeing /)

On February 27, a fascinating little aircraft took off from the deck for Australia’s maiden flight. Unlike most planes, it had no humans on board.

The test pilot in charge of the flight stayed safely on the ground at a facility called the RAAF Woomera Range Complex in South Australia.

The 38-foot-long aircraft, called the Royal Wingman, “taken off on its own to verify flight capabilities before flying a given route at various speeds and altitudes,” Boeing said. statement Earlier this week.

As the name implies, the intended mission of an autonomous aircraft is to make it an Air Force air robot ally.It can fly together Fighter Or other aircraft on which real humans are aboard may zoom in to protect them, amplify what they can do, or in more dangerous areas. Artificial intelligence helps perform those complex operations.

“The Royal Wingman Project is a pathfinder for integrating autonomous systems and artificial intelligence to create smart human-machine teams,” said Maj. Gen. Cass Roberts of the Royal Australian Air Force in a statement.

[Related: DARPA’s new combat drones could catch a ride from other aircraft]

The aircraft is 38 feet long and has a modular nose.

The aircraft is 38 feet long and has a modular nose. (Boeing /)

We first tried Full size version of this drone May of last year. One of its most attractive features is the 9-foot modular nose. With 52 cubic feet of space in it, the nose can carry a variety of sensor packages for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. Ground crews can theoretically swap noses to quickly change the equipment the little bird carries between flights.

Boeing too Said last week Currently, six of these vessels are contracted to be built in total.

The Chicago-based aerospace company is not the only group creating such unmanned spacecraft. Last year, the Air Force announced that it had contracts with multiple companies to create aircraft that could work with manned aircraft. Called Skyborg, Program purpose “Integrate autonomous, consumable UAV technology with open mission systems to enable manned and unmanned teaming.” The Air Force means an aircraft designed to lose in combat when needed, as opposed to expensive fighters like the F-35 on which pilots are aboard.

Besides Boeing, the other two companies working on the Skyborg program are the Kratos unmanned aerial vehicle system and the General Atomics aviation system.

It’s not the only Air Force experimenting with combining people with more advanced technology: artificial intelligence collaboration A human aviator boarded the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft flight in December.

And in the same general fashion, DARPA has pushed the boundaries of this field by exploring both methods. The algorithm can be run in dogfight And announce again A program designed to create drones It can drop out of another aircraft and launch air-to-air missiles at the enemy.

Check out the Royal Wingman’s maiden flight scene below.

Watch this Boeing fighter drone fly for the first time

https://www.popsci.com/story/technology/boeing-loyal-wingman-drone-first-flight/ Watch this Boeing fighter drone fly for the first time

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