DoD Artificial Intelligence Agents Successfully Pilot Fighter Jet

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February 14, 2023 | Originally published by AFRL on February 13, 2023

A joint U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) team executed 12 flight tests in which artificial intelligence (AI) agents piloted the X-62A Variable Stability In-Flight Simulator Test Aircraft (VISTA) to perform advanced fighter maneuvers at Edwards Air Force Base, CA, on December 1-16, 2022. Supporting organizations included the U.S. Air Force Test Center, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

AFRL’s Autonomous Air Combat Operations (AACO) and DARPA’s Air Combat Evolution (ACE), AI-driven autonomy agents piloted the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School’s X-62A VISTA to perform advanced fighter maneuvers. AACO’s AI agents performed one-on-one, beyond-visual-range (BVR) engagements against a simulated adversary, and ACE’s AI agents performed within-visual-range maneuvering, known as dogfighting, against constructive AI red-team agents.