- The Washington Times
Friday, May 22, 2020

The U.S. Air Force appears to be taking a page out of the “Star Wars” universe with its “Skyborg” program.

Companies are set to vie for $400 million contracts as part of the service’s “Skyborg” program, which will pair pilots with artificial intelligence. 

Military.com noted the request on the government’s acquisition and awards website on Friday.

“The intent of Skyborg is to integrate an autonomy mission system core and suite of services … with multiple low-cost air vehicle systems, each designed to perform one or more mission types,” the solicitation says.

Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, broke the military jargon down for civilians last year when the subject was broached at the Air Force Research Lab-led program last year.

“I might eventually decide, ‘I want that AI in my own cockpit,’” Mr. Roper said, the defense website reported. “‘So if something happened immediately, [the AI] could take hold, make choices in a way that [a pilot would] know because [a pilot has] trained with it.’ In short, it’s R2-D2 from ‘Star Wars’ in an aircraft of its very own, he said.”

Air Force Magazine expects Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Co., and General Atomics to make bids, the website added.

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