Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The Air Force is making new frontiers by integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into fighters. Recently, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall took part in a groundbreaking flight aboard the X62 VISTA, an experimental F16 controlled entirely by advanced AI technology.

Historic AI Powered Flight

The X62 VISTA, painted orange and white, demonstrated its capabilities at Edwards Air Force Base under AI guidance. It executed sophisticated aerial manoeuvres with precise control. Secretary Kendall observed these manoeuvres directly from the jet’s cockpit during one of the earliest flights where AI assumed complete control of a fighter jet’s operations. This experimental flight tackled extreme speeds and manoeuvres that subjected the aircraft to forces five times stronger than gravity.

The Role of AI in Modern Air Combat

AI is changing the way air forces globally will function in the future. The U.S. Air Force is set to add over 1,000 unmanned warplanes controlled by AI by 2028. This move towards more independent, quicker, and more strategically adept air forces signifies a major shift. AI is predicted to bring numerous benefits,

  • Safety for Pilots, AI powered jets can tackle high risk missions without endangering human pilots.
  • Affordability, These aircraft are expected to cost less in terms of production and upkeep than their manned counterparts.
  • Improved Performance, With its ability to quickly analyze large sets of data, AI enables quicker decision making during crucial moments.

Security Implications and Ethical Considerations

The advantages are evident, but employing AI within military activities brings up significant discussions on security and ethics as well. There are serious concerns about ethics and security when machines can make critical life and death choices. Critics fear that these machines might perform unpredictably during wars, leading to unexpected issues. The risk of AI systems being tampered with or failing in critical moments is another concern.

The International Committee of the Red Cross strongly voices the need for prompt global rules to control how AI is used in military operations. Despite worries, Secretary Kendall has stated that humans will still play a key role in making decisions, particularly regarding the use of lethal force.

Looking Ahead

Implementing AI into combat planes could transform military tactics and push forward AI technology development. As AI develops, its potential uses in civilian and governmental areas seem unlimited, opening doors to various innovations that could mimic these profound changes. Recent changes in military technology have made a big impact, especially with stealth technology.


To conclude, the future of AI in military aviation holds many challenges that are both technical and moral. However, the potential benefits could completely change combat and defence strategies. The U.S. Air Force is already testing AI in aircraft like the X62 VISTA, indicating just the beginning of what might be a major shift in aerial warfare.

The use of AI in military planes marks a significant change, starting a new era where machines might play key roles in battles. This change is likely to improve capabilities and make operations more efficient but comes with big ethical and strategic concerns that need careful attention. As we enter this new phase in defence technology, ensuring that AI deployment is regulated properly and overseen continually is crucial for boosting security effectively.

The AI journey within military aviation is starting, and its path will greatly impact future warfare and AI’s role in society at large. For updates on AI progress in military tech, please continue to check our newsletter.

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