UPDATED 2:15 PM PT – Sunday, February 14, 2021
The Pentagon made additional moves to automate military operations through a $740 billion defense bill passed last month. The bill included multiple directives for incorporating autonomous technology in sea and air vessels.
Computer-controlled cockpits of helicopters, tankers and cargo planes would allow for remote controlled missions. One initiative would provide jet fighters with their own autonomous wingman for an advantage in dog fights.
Automation across all branches of the military is gaining steam.
“Rather than the aircrew managing and manipulating all the controls at the same time, the aircraft understands how to keep itself stable,” Marine Corps Aviation Colonel Byron Sullivan said. “So for example, when you’re in a hover in this aircraft, you can basically auto-couple the aircraft to a point in space, laterally and in elevation as well.”
AI systems would allow pilots to focus on flying strategically as opposed to responding to threats, which is a task the military plans to automate.