A brand new Pentagon project will equip the US Air Force (USAF) with 1,000 mini-fighter jets that might be piloted autonomously using AI reasonably than human pilots.

Last yr we reported that the USAF had successfully tested an AI-controlled stealth jet called the XQ-58A Valkyrie. His plan to have swarms of those small autonomous “ghost” fighter jets is gaining momentum as more details emerge.

Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics and Anduril Industries are all bidding for the $6 billion contract. The list is whittled right down to two firms that can begin constructing the jets in the following few months.

The jets, also generally known as Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA), will carry weapons and missiles but won’t must host human pilots. That means they may be much smaller, at 20 to 30 feet long, and may perform maneuvers that might be too dangerous for human pilots.

The jets are expected to be able to flying as much as 30 feet above the bottom at speeds of 600 miles per hour. Here’s a take a look at certainly one of the competitors, Boeing’s MQ-28, which was developed in Australia.

The use of AI to fly these jets doesn’t sit well with some fighter pilots because they realize they might soon be swapping their seats on jets for jobs on the command and control desk. The superiority of AI systems over human pilots has already been proven and can only improve.

For now, these jets might be used as escort aircraft and won’t completely replace all human-piloted aircraft.

The costs related to conventional fighter aircraft and pilot training are a very important consider this project. The autonomous jets are expected to cost about $10 million each, ten times lower than an F-35.

Recent advances in AI technology have led to increasingly powerful aircraft management systems. An enormous player on this area is Shield AI. It developed Hivemind, an AI pilot that enables swarms of drones and aircraft to operate autonomously without GPS, communications or a pilot.

With Hivemind, a single ground controller could control 10 jets from anywhere on this planet. The jets could obtain a goal and steer themselves autonomously in a swarm without human intervention.

It’s easy to see why these jets are attractive to Pentagon personnel tasked with countering China’s growing military power. How much of the $6 billion budget might be dedicated to the ethics of an AI-powered autonomous missile combat aircraft is unclear.

This article was originally published at dailyai.com