The U.S. Air Force has released a slick new video regarding its Skyborg program, which is developing a suite of systems that will form an artificial intelligence-driven “computer brain” capable of flying networked “loyal wingman” type drones and fully autonomous unmanned combat air vehicles, or UCAVs. The video offers new insights into what the service wants out of this project, how it sees it fitting into its larger aerial combat ecosystem, and what unmanned capabilities it might serve as a stepping stone toward in the future. . .
The new Skyborg video features concept art with additional views of a notional loyal wingman-type drone that AFRL first showed publicly last year. The design, which has clear low-observable (stealthy) features, has a centrally-mounted main wing and v-tail. A top-mounted air intake at the rear of the fuselage feeds into a single small jet engine with a shrouded exhaust.
A cutaway shows a modular equipment bay in the top of the forward fuselage, including what looks to be some kind of sensor, possibly meant to depict an Infrared Search and Track (IRST) system, in the nose. This conceptual aircraft has two internal payload bays underneath the fuselage in between its tricycle landing gear. (Read more from “WATCH: Air Force Video Lays out “Skyborg” Artificial Intelligence Combat Drone Program” HERE)