Featured NewsTrending NewsMilitaryNext Generation Fighter Wingmen May Be Drones


15 February 2023

The United States Air Force is looking into the feasibility of autonomous Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) as uncrewed wingmen to protect fighter pilots in the future. 

Current research is based on the best methold to control CCAs—from other crewed aircraft nearby, a battle center, or from the cockpit of the fighter—and the costs involved for implementation, technology, and maintenance. CCAs are being considered to team up with the USAF's Next Generation Air Dominance fighters and the F-35, with missions to include reconnaissance, target strikes, and jamming enemy electronic warfare tactics.

In addition, Air Force Sec. Frank Kendall has stated CCA aircraft must be reuseable, and not tremendously expensive if they are lost in combat—such as if drones are sent on "suicide" missions where they are not expected to return to base.
“We’re really headed down that path,” says USAF Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown. “I think you’ll see, as we start looking at our future budgets and the analysis we’re doing that we are committed to more uncrewed capability.”

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