Re: Pentagon's plan for AI piloted ghost fighter jets...

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Message posted by Casper (Member since 01/24/2011) on March 11, 2024 at 16:50:45 PST:

I was listening to the Fighter Pilot Podcast today and this week's episode is with Lt Col "Pako" Benitez. Pako retired as director of strategy at the 53rd (operational test/tactics) Wing at Eglin, and was the project officer for the first "Black Flag". He also did a Pentagon tour as the chief of fighter programs on the Secretary of the Air Force's staff.

In other words, he knows a lot.

The topic today was about Loyal Wingman projects. Pako's current company is in the space, so taking that with a grain of salt, his comments were still interesting.

He basically said that CCAs provide the US military with an affordable critical mass and that we can't hit that critical mass needed to counter a near-peer adversary without it. It would be prohibitively expensive and likely impossible from a manpower perspective. And China and Russia are spending real money on it, so we have to have a counter.

I'm sure data security is an issue they're keenly aware of. He didn't delve into any specifics, but just thinking through what we know, a few things come to mid that make me feel better.

1) Think of the F-35. We know it has codes that change daily that essentially brick it if you don't have the right set. I would assume all of these CCAs would have similar failsafes.

2) Pako mentioned that at this point, there's no plan to operate these drones from Nevada like they do with the ISR platforms. These are meant to be closely tied to a manned asset. I would assume some of that is for security, whether that is line of sight laser comms or something else.

3) Another interesting topic in the podcast was the discussion the industry and the Air Force are having over what the plane should do when something goes wrong. If a Reaper loses comms, it goes into an orbit and tries to reestablish, and when it hits bingo fuel, it flies home. With an aircraft designed to operate in contested environments, an orbit is a death sentence, so they're looking at whether to have it RTB or continue with its mission objective or just go into some sort of disconnected "protect" mode where the AI kicks in to protect its manned wingman. So unless the hack were seamless and it never picked up a change in comms, any attempt to change its master would likely be met with a failsafe mode and (if I were programming it) that'd be followed by an instant key change and required reauthentication.

Attached link: The Fighter Pilot Podcast

In Reply to: Re: Pentagon's plan for AI piloted ghost fighter jets... posted by Eddie McHugh on March 11, 2024 at 15:39:46 PST:


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