For these purposes, it is planned to modify four L-39 jet training aircraft, for which Calspan has allocated $ 14.1 million, according to Defense Brief.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) intends in 2023 to develop a combat aircraft control program, endowed with artificial intelligence (AI) and capable of replacing the pilot in aerial combat. This was announced on Sunday by the specialized portal Defense Brief, noting that limited flight tests are expected to be carried out this year.
As the portal notes, for these purposes, it is planned to begin to modify four L-39 jet training aircraft, for which DARPA allocated $ 14.1 million to Calspan. The program for the development of such an AI called Air Combat Evolution (ACE), designed for three stages, “is already approaching the end of the first stage”, emphasizes Defense Brief.
“We are now focused on integrating the algorithms developed for simulated combat into aircraft control programs, while we prepare for real flights on a scaled-down model aircraft at the end of 2021,” the portal quoted DARPA spokesman Colonel Dan Gevorsek as saying. According to him, it is expected that training air battles using the L-39 can be started at the end of 2023 or in 2024.
Several successful virtual battles have already been held within the ACE. Last August, the AI managed to win five one-on-one battles in F-16s against an experienced Air Force fighter pilot. Then it was allowed to “use” only air cannons. In February of this year, the task was complicated: two “blue” F-16s, piloted by AI, fought with the same “red” fighter, moreover with the possibility of using missiles. The L-39 was developed in the 1960s in Czechoslovakia at the enterprise Aero Vodochody. From 1972 to the beginning of the 1990s, it was the main trainer aircraft of the countries – members of the Warsaw Pact Organization. It continues to be operated in more than 30 countries of the world and is also used for training cadets of flight schools in Russia.