The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) completed the first-ever flight of an AFRL-developed stealth drone powered by artificial intelligence software.
On July 25, the machine-learning-trained, artificial intelligence-powered XQ-58A Valkyrie flew a three-hour sortie at Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base.
“The mission proved out a multi-layer safety framework on an AI/ML-flown uncrewed aircraft and demonstrated an AI/ML agent solving a tactically relevant “challenge problem” during airborne operations,” said Col. Tucker Hamilton, chief, of AI Test and Operations, for the Department of the USAF.
Hamilton continued, “This sortie officially enables the ability to develop AI/ML agents that will execute modern air-to-air and air-to-surface skills that are immediately transferrable to other autonomy programs.”
Eglin has become the testing ground for advanced autonomous systems within the USAF. Last November, the service received two Valkyrie stealth drones assigned to the 40th Flight Test Squadron.
In past press releases, AFRL describes the Valkyrie as a “high-speed, long-range, low-cost unmanned platform designed to offer maximum utility at minimum cost.”