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USAF shortlists Anduril and General Atomics to develop drone wingmen

The US Department of the Air Force (DAF) has awarded funding to Anduril and General Atomics to develop and test Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) drones, also known as loyal wingmen. 

“Just over two years ago, we announced our intent, as part of our Operational Imperatives, to pursue collaborative combat aircraft,” said US Secretary of the Air Force, Frank Kendall. “Now, following the enactment of the fiscal year 2024 budget, we’re exercising option awards to two companies to construct production representative test articles.” 

Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman, which also offered CCA concepts, will be able to continue participating in the program with their own funding. 

The CCA program is a vital component of the Next Generation Air Dominance system of systems, which revolves around a sixth-generation fighter jet. Its primary objective is to equip the USAF with manned and unmanned platforms that adapt to changing conditions. 

The program aims to produce a minimum of 1,000 CCAs, consistent with the USAF’s approach to cost-effectively increasing air combat mass by leveraging attritable autonomous systems. The US Department of Defense recently introduced the Replicator initiative to counter China’s “mass” and military expansion in the Indo-Pacific by employing innovation, strategic thinking, and technology. 

The DAF has also expressed its interest in exploring the incorporation of global partners, with the possibility of exporting the drones developed through the program. 

The post USAF shortlists Anduril and General Atomics to develop drone wingmen appeared first on AeroTime.

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