USAF’s Skyborg ACS flies aboard Kratos UTAP-22 unmanned vehicle
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USAF’s Skyborg ACS flies on board Kratos UTAP-22 unmanned vehicle

06 May 2021 (Last Updated May 7th, 2021 16:15)

The US Air Force (USAF) has carried out the maiden flight test of a Skyborg autonomy core system (ACS) at Tyndall Air force Base (AFB) in Florida, US.

USAF’s Skyborg ACS flies on board Kratos UTAP-22 unmanned vehicle
The Skyborg ACS launches aboard a Kratos UTAP-22 tactical unmanned vehicle at Tyndall AFB, Florida. Credit: USAF.

The Skyborg ACS flew on board a Kratos UTAP-22 tactical unmanned vehicle for two hours and ten minutes, reported Daryl Mayer of Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) Public Affairs.

It marks the ‘Milestone 1’ of the Autonomous Attritable Aircraft Experimentation (AAAx) campaign.

During the flight, the ACS executed several key activities that were required to indicate safe operation of the system. The behaviours were observed from airborne and ground command and control stations.

It showcased fundamental aviation capabilities, coordinated manoeuvring, respond to navigation commands, and following aircraft flight envelopes.

Skyborg is one of the three initiatives under the USAF’s Vanguard programme for rapid prototyping and development of new technologies. The other two initiatives are Golden Horde, Navigation Technology Satellite 3 (NTS-3).

The 96th Test Wing oversees these three test missions.

Skyborg PEO brigadier general Dale White said: “We’re extremely excited for the successful flight of an early version of the ‘brain’ of the Skyborg system. It is the first step in a marathon of progressive growth for Skyborg technology.

“These initial flights kick-off the experimentation campaign that will continue to mature the ACS and build trust in the system.”