AMERICA’S elite fighter pilots are to fly into future battles alongside swarms of deadly drone wingmen, it’s been revealed.
Donald Trump’s military is considering investing hundreds of millions on the Valkyrie aircraft – which are aimed at giving Top Gun flyers the critical edge in a dogfight.
USAF The US Air Force has already tested the XQ-58A Valkyrie drone for combat
A prototype of the drone – which may eventually be flown by the Skyborg AI programme – has already taken to the skies at the Pentagon’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
Now Will Roper, the US Air Force’s assistant secretary for technology and logistics has said he hopes the drones will be become a regular feature in modern warfare.
“I don’t want this to just be a laboratory project that lives and dies there in a petri dish. I want this to become a program,” he told reporters.
“I want to see real, operational demonstrations within a couple years. And I will push them to be faster than that.”
Roper compared even Skyborg to R2-D2, the droid in Star Wars who serves as an assistant to Luke Skywalker when he pilots an X-Wing.
Others say the drone is a robo version of Goose – who was Tom Cruise’s ill-fated wingman in the Top Gun movie.
If Skyborg were integrated with a low-cost, expendable aircraft like Valkyrie, a pilot could send it into a congested airspace fraught with adversaries and stay out of danger.
The AI might even be able to respond to threats more quickly than a human pilot.
The Valkyrie will reportedly be capable of Mach 0.9 speeds for short periods of time, have a 1,500-nautical-mile range, and be able to carry at least two bombs.
They can be launched from the back of trucks and ships at sea and once their mission is over they pop parachutes and float back to earth for recovery.
Boeing has also unveiled plans for its own version of a drone to fly alongside traditional aircraft in battle.
The news comes after it was revealed the US Navy is launching a fleet of ‘ghost’ battleships tasked with tracking and taking out Russia’s latest hypersonic nukes.
The 10 state-of-the-art drone vessels will carry a variety of sensors and deadly missiles – but not one member of crew.
‘KILLER’ PILL Safety fears as common anti-depressant linked to heart problems & two deaths HOUSE ABOUT THAT Couple buy 120-year-old mansion for £30k by MISTAKE after auction mix-up GUNNED DOWN Man in 50s shot dead in broad daylight in Kent, sparking murder probe TERROR IN SURREY Cops probe terror attack near Heathrow after ‘Far Right-inspired’ stabbing MARKED MAN New Zealand shooter held in solitary for own safety after threats from inmates NICE WORK LAMMY Comic Relief donations down £8m in wake of row over ‘white saviour’ celebs
The proliferation of supersonic and hypersonic missiles makes it paramount to detect threats from as far away as possible.
But – up until now – the curvature of the Earth has dramatically lowered the distance at which low-flying missiles can be detected before they hit.
So the ‘Ghost Fleet’ will sail ahead of future US naval task force seeking out any inbound threats – even if they are travelling at incredible speeds.
Boeing Boeing has also unveiled plans for a drone to fly alongside traditional aircraft in battle
The unmanned drone ships – similar to above – would be at the vanguard of the navy’s fleet
Russia unveils new deadly ‘kamikaze’ drone capable of decimating targets by exploding as it smashes into them at 80mph