Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Kratos and Shield AI conduct AI-piloted flight testing on Kratos UAS

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions (KTOS) and Shield AI have successfully completed the first phase of AI-piloted flight testing on board Kratos’ unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The two companies are working towards productizing Shield AI’s pilot on these systems.

AI pilots have been successfully flown on multiple aircraft, including quadcopters, the MQ-35A V-BAT, and even the F-16 in autonomous air combat training. Shield AI and Kratos have now achieved a major milestone as the Hivemind AI pilot has successfully flown and controlled the Kratos Tactical Firejet.

The integration project between Shield AI and Kratos is comprehensive and ultimately aims to create a new configuration of the Valkyrie with the Hivemind AI pilot.

“Our substantial investments in autonomy and AI design tools, infrastructure, and pipelines are what enable Shield AI to rapidly integrate Hivemind onto different classes of aircraft and, most importantly, fly them safely,” said Ryan Tseng, Shield AI’s CEO and Co-Founder. “We’re getting faster and faster. It was over three years from signing the contract to flying the F-16; now, it’s less than 180 days for the Kratos Firejet. The vision of portable autonomy software for military hardware has been realized, flown, and deployed by Shield AI.”

“The ability of our teams (Kratos and Shield AI) to collaborate and work together as two commercial entities driving toward technical mission capability solutions and systems to ultimately support the DoD provides a rapid path to system realization. Firejet is the first; there’s more to come, and we’re excited about the technology, what it enables, the speed at which we can create and deliver these systems, the broad application space, and the impact that these high capability, affordable UAS provide to the warfighter,” said Steve Fendley, President of Kratos’ Unmanned Systems Division.

The Firejet is a versatile aircraft that can be used in a variety of roles, including as a jet target system for weapons-release training. It is capable of supporting surface-to-air and air-to-air engagements, making it a valuable tool for military training.

The Tactical Firejet is a more cost-effective option that offers offensive and defensive capabilities in a smaller price range. Its performance and mission systems are highly capable and can be used in both target and tactical configurations.

The Firejet is designed to be fast, maneuverable, and low-signature, making it an ideal solution for replicating threats or operating in contested environments with no risk to Warfighter life.