Fighter jets can only carry a limited amount of firepower into battle. In an article published by Defense Systems, Kris Osborne explains that the Air Force envisions drones as essential weapon mules. These mules will work side by side with the F-35 and F-22, and allow the fighters more flexibility and effectiveness by enabling the jets to conduct a mission with more weapons, sensors, targeting technology, and cargo.
F-35s, F-22s and other fighter jets will soon use improved artificial intelligence to control nearby drone wingmen that will be able to carry weapons, test enemy air defenses or perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in high risk areas, senior Air Force officials said.
Citing ongoing progress with artificial intelligence already engineered into the F-35, Air Force Chief Scientist Gregory Zacharias said that much higher degrees of autonomy and manned-unmanned teaming are expected to emerge in the near future from work at the Air Force Research Lab
“This involves an attempt to have another platform fly alongside a human, perhaps serving as a weapons truck carrying a bunch of missiles,” Zacharias said in an interview with Defense Systems.
An F-35 computer system, Autonomic Logistics Information System, uses early applications of artificial intelligence that help computers make assessments, go through checklists, organize information and make some decisions by themselves – without needing human intervention.
Read more here.
F-35: The Smart Fighter for the Warfighter