HomeNewsIce Man Vs Machine: AI Successfully Flies Military Jet in Combat Testing

Ice Man Vs Machine: AI Successfully Flies Military Jet in Combat Testing

by TK Sanders

The United States Defense Department recently confirmed that artificial intelligence (AI) successfully flew a military fighter jet for 17 hours straight. The Defense Department used an experimental jet called a Vista X-62A for the testing, which took place back in December 2022 at California’s Edwards Air Force Base.

With human safety pilots onboard, the AI-controlled jets responded to four different algorithms, developed and tested by a system called Air Combat Evolution (ACE). Commercial flights already use piloting software to cruise at safe altitudes, but this testing pushed the limits of conventional technology. According to the Defense Department, the jets participated in dogfighting during multiple simulated combat missions, as well as fully-automated takeoffs and landings.

The testing marked the first time that AI has ever knowingly-engaged in aerial combat.

The military has already taken some public steps to prepare itself for a future of evolved warfare different than what soldiers grew accustomed to in the 20th century. AI is in its nascent stages in terms of mass access, but it is already leading the way in other automated fields, like chat, media, and stock trading.

If further testing continues to prove successful, expect AI to start manning the front lines of warfare sooner rather than later.

Could the Marines be planning on an influx of AI-supported military battalions in the near future?

The United States Marine Corps announced a major shake-up recently, which it attributed to ‘keeping up’ with evolving needs of the military. Effective next year, the Corps will eliminate the Scout Sniper program from its training offerings.

Lieutenant General David J. Furness, Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policy, and Operations at Headquarters Marine Corps, outlined the “immediate transition of Scout Sniper Platoons to Scout Platoons” in a memo. Moving forward, sniper attachments will no longer accompany infantry battalions. Instead, scouts will “provide the commander with relevant, reliable, accurate and prompt information.”

The USMC Scout Sniper Association vehemently disagreed with the decision.

“Rather than do away with Scout Snipers… perhaps our senior leadership should invest the little bit of time and effort it would take to better train, equip and organize the highly skilled and motivated Scout Snipers who are already giving their all in defense of our Nation,” the org wrote on social media.

“We urge the Commandant of the Marine Corps to reconsider this ill-advised policy decision,” the sniper association continued in their plea. “If you believe Scout Snipers are a valuable asset to our Marine Corps warfighting capability, then you should take whatever steps you can to place pressure on our Commandant, Gen David Berger, and his leadership team to rescind this message and do the right thing. You have representatives in Congress who also want to hear from you.”