US Air Force Picks Anduril & General Atomics

Next Phase of AI Drone Program Led by Palmer Luckey

The US Air Force is working hard to upgrade its fleet and improve both defensive and offensive capabilities by developing drone wingmen, which are aircraft that fly alongside piloted stealth fighter jets like the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II and Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. This effort comes as the world faces increasing chaos.

On Wednesday, the USAF announced that Palmer Luckey’s defense tech startup Anduril and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems were chosen to create and test wingmen drones for the next phase of the CCA program. This reduces the number of competitors from five to two, with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman no longer in the running.

“The companies not chosen to build these drones will still have opportunities to compete for future contracts,” the Air Force said in a press release.

The USAF plans to deploy over 1,000 wingmen drones capable of various missions, including electronic warfare, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and dogfighting.

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall commented on the announcement, saying the CCA program began “just over two years ago” as part of the Air Force’s efforts to pursue collaborative combat aircraft.

General Atomics is offering its autonomous collaborative drone called “Gambit,” while Anduril has proposed a high-performance autonomous air vehicle named “Fury.”

Anduril’s CEO Brian Schimpf emphasized the need for a rapid and forward-looking approach to fielding autonomous systems, praising the Air Force’s initiative with the CCA program.

Luckey’s startup, Anduril, aims to maintain America’s lead in military technology, as traditional defense companies face challenges in keeping up with advancements.

“We need new defense technology companies to revitalize our military capabilities,” Anduril states on its website.

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