Military Review

Planes will lead robots into battle. Skyborg program

46

Skyborg project, render by USAF


By 2030, the United States expects to complete the ambitious Skyborg program, which could change the modern look of the Air Force and the way of conducting air warfare. The goal of the program is to create combat aircraft that will be controlled by artificial intelligence. These devices are planned to be used as slaves with traditional combat aircraft, in the cockpit of which there will still be live pilots. Today many countries of the world are engaged in work in the field of "unmanned slave".

Features of the Skyborg program


Drone these days aviation or robotic ground and surface technology is no longer surprising. Such samples have become firmly established in our life and have been registered in the armies and power structures of many countries. But the Skyborg program is not a program to create another drone with the best set of performance characteristics. The main feature of the program is to endow the new drone with full-fledged artificial intelligence, which will help the UAV to solve a variety of tasks on the battlefield, adapting to the changing conditions of the combat situation.

US Air Force purchasing executive Will Roper believes Skyborg will eventually become as smart as the famous robot character R2-D2 from the Star Wars world. It is assumed that, like R2-D2, the new artificial intelligence controlling the UAV will be able to autonomously solve various tasks and quickly transmit information in order to reduce the workload on fighter pilots. It is planned that the system with an open architecture and self-learning AI will be able to learn from experience to better support human pilots in real combat situations.

Unlike civilian developments, AI for the Air Force will need AI that is very different from what can be found in the entertainment industry today. If the civilian app is wrong and the AI ​​advises you on the wrong movie or song without guessing your preferences, nothing bad will happen. In a combat situation, mistakes must not be made, since the cost of an error can be the death of a pilot. At the same time, there will be an enemy in the battle who will try to confuse or interfere with the work of artificial intelligence, which is why the Air Force will need completely new AI systems that will be protected from interference from the enemy.


Skyborg concept design for a low-cost combat UAV

Obviously, the Skyborg program itself, as is often the case, will move not only military developments, but also the civilian application of artificial intelligence. The updated AI will also come in handy in the civilian sector of the economy, primarily for improving self-driving cars and drones used to deliver goods. In the future, such devices can completely replace drivers, couriers and postmen. At the same time, the revolution is taking place literally before our eyes, and soon we can witness how some professions for people will simply disappear.

At the same time, the US Air Force does not plan to completely replace and exclude a person from combat operations at this stage. Skyborg is a "unmanned wingman" program. Yes, such devices will be able to operate autonomously, but their main purpose is to act in conjunction with aircraft under the control of living pilots. The use of such UAVs with advanced AI can significantly multiply and expand the capabilities of the Air Force. First of all, in missions that pose an increased danger to manned crews or involve a large and prolonged strain of strength and attention.

The US Air Force command expects to get at its disposal UAVs under the Skyborg project by 2030, which will be able not only to take off and land under the control of AI, but also make independent decisions in real combat conditions, constantly analyzing and processing information. In the future, the "unmanned wingmen" will have to take on a large amount of work, which is currently performed by manned aircraft, removing the latter from the attack of a potential enemy. It is believed that such UAVs will be able to delegate a large number of functions: reconnaissance, jamming, monitoring the air situation, striking ground targets and even full-fledged air combat. True, at the initial stage it is planned that the decision to defeat targets will still be made by a person.


Skyborg concept design for a low-cost combat UAV

The United States Air Force believes that the Skyborg program will help not only improve the combat capabilities of aviation, but also change the way air combat and the methods of using air forces. "Unmanned wingmen" will be able to process, analyze and transmit large amounts of reconnaissance data in real time, giving information to pilots, other UAVs and ground command. Moving ahead of manned aircraft, thanks to on-board sensors and sensors, they will be able to increase the situational awareness of pilots about the air and ground situation, as well as protect the manned aircraft from missile weapons enemy, including at the cost of their own "life". In this regard, such devices should not be expensive, their cost should not exceed a couple of million dollars. The balance of the reusability of the use of such UAVs and moderate losses from the possible loss of vehicles in hostilities must be observed.

Four American companies are working on the Skyborg program


At this stage, four large American companies are working on the Skyborg project and do not need additional introduction. The contracts between the US Air Force and Boeing, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems and Northrop Grumman Systems were awarded in July 2020. The contract for each of the companies is valued at $ 400 million, and this is the maximum amount they can count on at this stage.

It is not yet known how exactly the US Air Force will dispose of the available funding. Everything will depend on the drones presented by the indicated companies and the assessment of their advantages and disadvantages. The next step will be to issue an order for the construction of prototypes of new UAVs. At the same time, the number of competing companies may decrease, but the US Air Force does not exclude that they will continue to work with not one, but several companies at once.


UAV XQ-58 Valkyrie, created by Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems

Choosing multiple drones will help push the boundaries of flight experiments, according to Brigadier General Dale White, who is the head of the US Air Force's Fighter and Advanced Aircraft Programming Department. The US military believes that aircraft, which differ in design and performance, will help make the program more competitive. And the distinctive characteristics of the drones being developed in the future may be most useful for performing certain missions in combat conditions. By the beginning of flight tests of new drones in the United States, they expect to start in 2021. At the same time, the general noted that, although the Air Force is experiencing some funding restrictions, the work plan for 2020 and 2021 has already been approved and there will be no problems with its implementation.

The US Air Force expects that the new drones created under the Skyborg program will be able to fight not only together with the fifth generation aircraft F-22 and F-35, but also with the fourth generation aircraft - still numerous F-15, F-16 and F / A-18 of various modifications, as well as promising models of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Unmanned Follower Program in other countries


It should be noted that the development of the armed forces of different countries is proceeding in approximately the same way, despite the fact that the countries have different military, financial and political capabilities. The creation of artificial intelligence systems, which could be entrusted to the aircraft, as well as the creation of full-fledged "unmanned wingmen" are working not only in the United States.

The closest and most well-known project to date is the Loyal Wingman aircraft, on which the Australian division of the Boeing aerospace corporation continues. This drone is being created in the interests of the Royal Australian Air Force. At the same time, there is an already assembled prototype, which was rolled out on May 5, 2020. The Loyal Wingman jet UAV is designed for direct interaction with manned combat aircraft.


Boeing's Loyal Wingman render

Since the mid-2010s, France, Great Britain and Japan have also been working on the unmanned wingman project, but it was Boeing's Australian project that was the first that the world saw live. Loyal Wingman is not only the aircraft itself, but also the Airpower Teaming System, which allows the UAV to operate in combat conditions together with other drones and manned aircraft.

In Russia, this direction of aviation development has also not been ignored. It would be naive to think that our country does not think about the possibility and necessity of interaction between manned aircraft and drones. It is most likely that the actively developing heavy attack drone "Okhotnik", which will be able to operate in the mode of an escort aircraft in a link with manned fifth-generation fighters Su-57, can be the first to receive such capabilities. The first such flight of the S-70 "Okhotnik" UAV with the development of interaction with the Su-57 leader aircraft took place at the end of September 2019. And directly within the framework of the concept of "unmanned slave" at the forum "Army 2020" in August this year, a project was announced to create a high-speed attack UAV "Thunder".
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  1. The comment was deleted.
  2. Sergey_G_M
    Sergey_G_M 1 October 2020 06: 13
    -3
    Well, such articles are not new, but more and more often real breakthroughs in technology are being replaced by informational stuffing, now they have thrown in - WOW AMERICA GRET EGEN, in a month the same thing, the most insulting is that there is a noticeable degradation of both the media and media readers who forget what happened a month or a year ago ... And about blah-blah-blah Americans forget, but ours have a "speck in the eye" with a microscope and stumble.
    This article is not informational stuff - but so-so achievement

    Regarding "smart" drones, one of the main main technologies - "technical vision" here we do not seem to remain
  3. Free wind
    Free wind 1 October 2020 06: 42
    +3
    Robots from Star Wars, I think they were dumb. Robots on the roads have long and firmly established themselves. Let's say Tesla publishes the accident rate of his cars. 5.400.000 kilometers per accident, controlled by a robot. Ordinary cars have 800.000 km. Well imagine the possibilities. I think it's a little more difficult for robots on the ground than in the air, I'm not talking about battles.
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. Jacket in stock
      Jacket in stock 1 October 2020 09: 15
      0
      Quote: Free Wind
      robots on the ground are a little more difficult than in the air, I'm not talking about battles.

      Well, the whole thing was washed away just in the application for battle.
      A rapidly changing unpredictable situation.
      And on the road that - go straight, observe traffic rules, well, sometimes look around for fools.
      1. Free wind
        Free wind 1 October 2020 09: 33
        +4
        Jumping out from behind the truck, 10 meters away, then you, lobovik, overtaker, leaves you no chance. Tesla saved cases.
        1. Jacket in stock
          Jacket in stock 1 October 2020 09: 43
          0
          Quote: Free Wind
          Jumped out from behind the truck, 10 meters away, then you, lobovik, overtaker,

          And in battle this is a standard situation, and there can be a lot of such "wagons" and "overtakers" and they can fly from any side, and even will interfere with an attempt to blind.
          1. Free wind
            Free wind 1 October 2020 10: 03
            +1
            I left the bus, there were about 40-50 people in it. I wouldn't have anything. I went into the cliff. I would kill them all. I was at the DZ-98, the bus left, I was unhappy, the repair was long. I would like to kill the driver. laughing
      2. Free wind
        Free wind 1 October 2020 09: 43
        -1
        At 100 km per hour, head-on, there is no chance of survival.
  4. The comment was deleted.
  5. KVU-NSVD
    KVU-NSVD 1 October 2020 07: 25
    0
    It is planned that the system with an open architecture and self-learning AI will be able to learn from experience to better support human pilots in real combat situations.
    Intelligence involves not only learning, but also making conclusions (including non-standard ones) for independent behavior change. And who will control these conclusions from AI for their correctness? Humanity will play out.
    1. Ka-52
      Ka-52 1 October 2020 07: 59
      +4
      , but also drawing conclusions (including non-standard ones)

      non-standard situations require an intuitive solution. And artificial intelligence builds solutions based on a paradigm. Science fiction writers have written about this since the time of Asimov)
      1. Blackmokona
        Blackmokona 1 October 2020 08: 02
        -2
        Deep neural networks which is the current trend, this is just intuition
        1. Comrade Kim
          Comrade Kim 1 October 2020 13: 29
          +3
          On habr.ru there was an article about virtual battles on a simulator of a US Air Force pilot and a combat drone fighter program
          AlphaDogfight Trials DARPA.
          Meat in no battle had a single chance of winning.
          The only question was in time - how much of it would be needed by the AI ​​to defeat the meat.

          This is not tomorrow.
          This is today's reality.


          https://m.habr.com/ru/news/t/514508/
        2. ZEMCH
          ZEMCH 1 October 2020 16: 04
          0
          Quote: BlackMokona
          Deep neural networks which is the current trend, this is just intuition

          Everything that happens in the world around us is absolutely neutral. Only a subjective assessment of the situation makes what is happening good or bad. And this subjective assessment changes depending on the information surrounding the subject. And how can AI be taught to assess the situation?
          1. Blackmokona
            Blackmokona 1 October 2020 18: 58
            -2
            They give him a sea of ​​situations and evaluation criteria. And voila.
            1. ZEMCH
              ZEMCH 1 October 2020 19: 05
              0
              The whole point is in the criteria, they change over time)))
            2. ZEMCH
              ZEMCH 1 October 2020 19: 07
              +1
              I think humanity will not like it when the AI ​​starts to build assessment criteria itself
              1. Blackmokona
                Blackmokona 1 October 2020 19: 36
                -2
                Are the criteria not changeable, or is the criterion of someone else's already changing? Or the fact that in a war you need to destroy as many enemies as possible with minimal losses, and so on?
                1. ZEMCH
                  ZEMCH 1 October 2020 19: 39
                  0
                  How can a civilian be distinguished from a threat? With this criterion, even people are bad (((The task in a war is to end it on favorable terms))) And not to kill more
                  1. Blackmokona
                    Blackmokona 1 October 2020 19: 41
                    -2
                    We take a large amount of data, mark civilians from the military with pens. It can be done slowly and collegially, in parallel with dozens of groups.
                    Feed the resulting labeled data to the AI. He himself forms the rules and differences.
                2. ZEMCH
                  ZEMCH 1 October 2020 23: 16
                  0
                  The population partially supports us, the war is modern, mobile, some of the population are armed, negotiations have not yet begun. The negotiators have not arrived yet))) AI controls the territory, the population "lynches" the adherents of the enemy, it looks terrible (the dictatorial regime was cruel) and this is massively 40% of our unoccupied territory, what criteria and how will AI be guided? Destroy a population that has not yet come to our side? thereby turning those who waver against us? It's Complicated! If AI is capable of such analysis, then humanity is in danger !!
                  1. Blackmokona
                    Blackmokona 2 October 2020 08: 32
                    -2
                    Will kill assassins, maraders and others.
                    To put things in order so that later it would be possible to judge all the criminals of the past regime in a calm atmosphere. And not to kill everyone at whom various persons show in their own selfish interests
                3. ZEMCH
                  ZEMCH 1 October 2020 23: 25
                  0
                  The analysis of the capabilities of AI in Russia has been studied for a long time, the criteria of one's own alien are changing, the analysis of Operation Iraqi Freedom was carried out not only by the states))).
                  There is such an anecdote:
                  Question: How many Russian divisions will reach Kiev if two are involved in the offensive?
                  The correct answer is ten.
                  AI is not able to analyze such things))))
                  1. Blackmokona
                    Blackmokona 2 October 2020 08: 32
                    0
                    And how many divisions reached Kiev in the Donbass, and how many Ukrainian divisions went over to the side of the militia?
                    All these stories as a massive enemy will switch to our side, I have been hearing for a long time. The USSR has been spinning such tales since the October Revolution. It never worked.
                    1. ZEMCH
                      ZEMCH 2 October 2020 15: 20
                      0
                      Those. history of WWII bikes?))) Poland, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Czech Republic, etc. did not come to our side and did not fight with Germany?)))
                      1. Blackmokona
                        Blackmokona 2 October 2020 15: 21
                        -2
                        Yugoslavia and Poland have already fought on the side of the Nazis? !!? wassat
                        Urgently to school!
                      2. ZEMCH
                        ZEMCH 2 October 2020 18: 39
                        0
                        Let's start school education - Home Army (AK):
                        in 1943, there were cases of military clashes between AK and Soviet partisans in Western Belarus and Western Ukraine. Documents about this from the Moscow archives, historian Bernhard Chiari published in the journal "Osteyropa"
                        In December 1943, the commander of the Stolbtsy unit of the Home Army A. Pilch ("Gura") concluded an agreement with the Germans on cooperation in the fight against Soviet partisans in exchange for providing him with weapons.
                        On December 22, 1943, in Lida, a contract with the Germans was concluded by the commander of the Nadneman formation of AK Yu. Svida ("Lyakh"), who during January-March 1944 received five shipments of weapons from the Germans.
                        In February 1944 SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Strauch reported in his report: “The commonwealth with the White Polish bandits continues. A detachment of 300 people in Rakov and Ivenets turned out to be very useful. Negotiations with Ragner's (Stefan Zayonchkovsky) gang of one thousand people are over. Ragner's gang pacifies the territory between the Neman and the Volkovysk-Molodechno railway, between Mosty and Ivye. Communication with other Polish gangs has been established.
                        On February 7, 1944, the commander of the Vilensky district of the AK, Colonel of the AK Alexander Kryzhanovsky ("Wilk"), concluded a cooperation deal with the Germans in the Vilna region: the Germans supplied the Poles with weapons, medicines, treated the wounded, and the Poles expressed their readiness to provide long-term assistance to Hitler in the war against the USSR, having allocated 18 infantry battalions for this purpose. For this they demanded an end to the German terror and the recognition of the Polish borders as of 1939. To test the strength of German-Polish cooperation, the Home Army handed over to the German command the “3rd Polish Partisan Brigade”. Having received maps and intelligence from the Germans, the brigade, by order of the German command, attacked the Belarusian partisans.

                        Yugoslavia - The SS Command also formed such foreign divisions as the 23rd Kama and 13th Mountain Divisions Khandshar (from Croats, as well as Bosnians and Muslims of Herzegovina)
                      3. The eye of the crying
                        The eye of the crying 2 November 2020 14: 25
                        0
                        Quote: ZEMCH
                        Let's start school education


                        School education usually distinguishes collaborators from states. But this is not your case.
  6. KVU-NSVD
    KVU-NSVD 1 October 2020 08: 11
    +3
    Azimov and others are good. But decisions based on the paradigm are made by an algorithmic program, and the intellect makes independent conclusions and ways to solve the problem, independent of the original algorithms. This is the difference. So far, the words about AI are verbal casuistry and PR of manufacturers, but the very desire of people to make themselves an artificial competitor does not inspire optimism. Man is a persistent creature in achieving goals and very curious in learning the unknown, and these qualities can be both defining development and the road to the cemetery.
    1. Ka-52
      Ka-52 1 October 2020 08: 22
      +1
      and the intellect makes independent conclusions and solutions to the problem, independent of the original algorithms.

      if we start from the concepts, then it is the machine intelligence that most corresponds to them - the ability to perceive the surrounding reality, analyze it and draw conclusions based on existing experience. But the mind is a more complex concept, because it contains self-consciousness and an idea. As well as the ability to perceive abstract images. It is the human mind that allows you to make decisions based on intuition, foreboding. And here no AI or neural networks are pulling, because they are still guided by structural logic)
      1. Kart
        Kart 1 October 2020 09: 29
        -1
        Intuition and foreboding are exactly the same work of the brain, only its other parts.
        1. Ka-52
          Ka-52 1 October 2020 11: 52
          +1
          this is exactly the same work of the brain, only its other departments

          Of course. After all, "popochuyka" is only folklore laughing
      2. dauria
        dauria 1 October 2020 12: 21
        +3
        ... And here no AI or neural network pulls,

        Reason is easy to do. It is much more difficult to make hardware and software environment (what you class as subconsciousness, intuition, reflexes). In short, first you need to blind all low-level programs, all information sensors. Give a birth to a baby. And then raise him so that Mowgli does not grow up - a wolf without reason. That is why you do not remember yourself until the age of 3 - you did not have a mind. This is just a high-level program, stored not in genes, but in society. An interpreter program based on a huge number of low-level programs. Where the programming language is words and pictures. And therefore, it is terribly slow. That is why you are surprised - "ah, it dawned." In fact, the mind made a request to the procedure inside, which calculated it and returned the results to the “mind” with “probability weights”.
        And further . Someone blurted out stupidity - labor made a person reasonable. Not labor, but a herd way of life. Competition between herds of the same species. Benefits of information exchange - sounds, gestures, words. The basis of "reason"
        1. Ka-52
          Ka-52 1 October 2020 12: 32
          +1
          That is why you do not remember yourself until 3 years old - you did not have a mind

          disagree. Childhood amnesia is not about having or not having a mind. The problem is that 1) the brain at this age is actively growing and the neural connections that arise at the later stages of a child's growth (7-9 years old) simply "overwrite" the old ones. 2) in the early years, information that enters the baby's brain is recorded in the most primitive way - using images. In the future, as the brain develops, it receives a more developed "interface" for recording and operating with data and removes clusters with archaic pictures (mom is a warm and tasty smelling spot, dad is a prickly and foul-smelling spot ... etc.). IMHO
  7. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh 1 October 2020 12: 38
    +1
    "non-standard situations require an intuitive solution" ///
    -----
    So-called intuitive decisions are just quick decisions
    based on previous experience.
    Experience is the same database in the brain.
    The quick fix is ​​the same processor speed, only
    it is in the operative part of the brain.
    The brain works just like a computer: there is a database, there is logic
    processing ("intuitive decision") is the speed of the processor.
    In the brain, all this sits in different departments, just like in a computer box.
    1. Ka-52
      Ka-52 1 October 2020 12: 53
      +1
      So-called intuitive decisions are just quick decisions
      based on previous experience.

      my 2 year old daughter was not offended by any adult. My wife and I never scared her with some kind of "uncle (aunt) will come and take you". But she is afraid of strangers and always hides from strangers. laughing and you say experience ... laughing
      1. voyaka uh
        voyaka uh 1 October 2020 12: 57
        0
        These are her fears from a previous life - the experience of a previous reincarnation.
        Just protect her, always be on her side - and it will pass.
        1. Hypertension
          Hypertension 1 October 2020 13: 28
          0
          Quote: voyaka uh
          These are her fears from a previous life - the experience of a previous reincarnation.

          A good religion was invented by the Hindus ...
          Most likely there was some case of fright. The parents simply did not register. The fight-or-flight system skewed towards the “run” side. What else is there reincarnation. It's unscientific.
      2. dauria
        dauria 1 October 2020 13: 18
        +2
        But she is afraid of strangers and always hides from strangers laughing and you say experience ...


        BIOS firmware ... In genes from mom and dad. wink A joke with a grain of truth, do not be offended.
        A "warrior" oversimplified. Look, swung - since there is no fundamental difference, right now we will rivet you like Einsteins, a bucket for a ruble.
        No guys. Far away yet. Even a crow can fly, build a nest, find food and a female, learn, memorize enemies and a map of the area, interact in a flock.
        It's a long job. Moreover, doctors and biologists, digging from above "from the finished" to techies, picking from below. And a flying blank with explosives is not even a bee, but a stupid creature.
        1. The eye of the crying
          The eye of the crying 2 November 2020 16: 30
          0
          Quote: dauria
          Even a crow can fly, build a nest, find food and a female, learn, memorize enemies and a map of the area, interact in a flock.


          "AI" already knows how to fly, find enemies and friends, memorize a map of the area, interact in a flock. There are problems with automatic learning, of course, but it doesn't matter - it will learn on the basis.
  • silberwolf88
    silberwolf88 1 October 2020 08: 09
    0
    Progress does not stand still ... but usually all new items immediately find application in the field of war (weapons, etc.) and this simply means ... that without educating a person, he always falls short of the level of discovery as an opportunity to improve life ... and unmanned civilian transportation will appear only as a by-product of the defense industry
    1. OgnennyiKotik
      OgnennyiKotik 1 October 2020 09: 44
      0
      Quote: silberwolf88
      and unmanned civilian transportation will appear only as a by-product of the defense industry

      Not a fact, rumors have been circulating about the Tesla airplane project for a long time.
  • OgnennyiKotik
    OgnennyiKotik 1 October 2020 09: 37
    -1
    Contracts between the US Air Force and Boeing, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems and Northrop Grumman Systems were awarded in July 2020

    By 2023, prototypes of UAVs should be created and tested at all 4 companies. Moreover, Kratos has 2 options ready. Cheaper UTAP-22 and more expensive XQ-58.

    1. OgnennyiKotik
      OgnennyiKotik 1 October 2020 11: 16
      0
      Others want to join these 4 companies. Too tasty contract is planned in the future, very low entry threshold.

      List of applicants:

      • AeroVironment Inc., Simi Valley, California

      • Autodyne LLC, Boston, Massachusetts

      • BAE System Controls Inc., Arlington, Virginia

      • Blue Force Technologies Inc., Morrisville, North Carolina

      • Fregata System Inc., St. Louis, Missouri

      • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth, Texas

      • NextGen Aeronautics Inc., Torrance, California

      • Sierra Technical Services, Tehachapi, California

      • Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas
  • Charik
    Charik 1 October 2020 11: 57
    -1
    Remember-Genesis is Skynet-Skynet is Genesis
  • iouris
    iouris 1 October 2020 12: 30
    -1
    They are not super-maneuverable.
    1. The eye of the crying
      The eye of the crying 2 November 2020 17: 30
      0
      It is believed that such UAVs will be able to delegate a large number of functions: reconnaissance, jamming, monitoring the air situation, striking ground targets and even full-fledged air combat.


      Super-maneuverability is not needed for 4 out of 5 listed tasks.
  • bars1
    bars1 1 October 2020 20: 29
    0
    Some say that the Su-57 can control 4 S-70 ...