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Pentagon intends to purchase thousand drones to contain China

Pentagon intends to purchase thousand drones to contain China The Pentagon intends to purchase a thousand drones (photo: Getty Images)

The US Air Force intends to purchase at least one thousand unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) capable of autonomous operation thanks to artificial intelligence. The first 100 aircraft are planned to be received by the US military in the next five years, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The increasing cost of existing military aircraft and advancements in software are compelling the US Air Force to transition to a new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

According to the publication, these UAVs will be designed to accompany and protect conventional aircraft (such as the F-35 or B-21), and they may be equipped with weapons for attacking air and ground targets. It is expected that these UAVs will help contain China.

According to the specifications of the US Air Force, these aircraft will be able to fly at speeds slightly below the speed of sound, carrying missiles and other armaments for attacking enemy aircraft and ground targets, including ships.

It is reported that they can also be used for reconnaissance and as a communications hub. The development program budget is $6 billion. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics, and Anduril Industries are known to be working on the program to create the new aircraft. The Pentagon aims to select two companies for the contract by this summer.

The absence of a crew is expected to allow drones to perform more risky maneuvers that would be physically impossible for a pilot, according to representatives of the Air Force and developers of flight software.

The Air Force estimates that one drone will cost the US between $20-30 million, although industry leaders expect that eventually, it will decrease to approximately $10 million or even less. For comparison, the cost of an F-35 is about $100 million, and a new B-21 bomber is estimated at $750 million each.

Drones with AI

It was previously reported that Britain is working with allies, including the United States, on arming Ukraine with thousands of new drones with artificial intelligence.

Drones with artificial intelligence will be deployed in large fleets that will communicate with each other to target enemy positions without the need for each of them to be controlled by a human operator.

We also wrote that the Ukrainian military will soon receive almost two thousand drones with artificial intelligence. They will help conduct reconnaissance and identify targets for strikes.