AFRL Director Says Skyborg Program Could Reach IOC by 2023 Written 5 February 2021


XQ-58A Valkyrie Demonstrator. | USAF

Breaking Defense reports that Air Force Research Lab Director Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle said that the “high-priority Skyborg program to develop low-cost, autonomous drones able to team with piloted aircraft could reach initial operating capability by 2023.” Pringle told the Mitchell Institute Thursday, “We’re really excited about that December demo because it was a first-ever kind of opportunity to show an ‘attritable’ as a force multiplier with fifth-gen aircraft.” Pringle explained that while the December 9 “test wasn’t fully successful, it was incredibly useful from a research perspective.” Pringle added, “We weren’t able to establish it in flight with the onboard communication gateway, but we still achieved the objective, because we had a backup on the ground. And so the connections were made; we still got the job done.” The December test “involved flying gatewayONE on the XQ-58A ‘translate’ between the incompatible machine codes of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the F-22 Raptor.”
Full Story (Breaking Defense)