back to article Our Skyborg (actual US govt program) will be just like IBM Watson, beams Air Force bod

The American government is trying to buy military drones in a programme it has named Skyborg, with a US govt spokesman comparing the madcap project to both Star Wars’ R2-D2 and IBM Watson. Aviation Week magazine, not known for producing light-hearted or spoof coverage, reported this week that the Skyborg project is intended to …

  1. DCFusor

    Loyal Wingman

    Is already flying. Wonder if the left hand knows what the right is doing here?

    (there are lots of links, that's just google's first one)

    1. Martin Gregorie

      Re: Loyal Wingman

      Both beaten into the air by Taranis, but to be fair the missions are a bit different, Taranis being essentially a stealthy autonomous fast intruder while the Loyal Wingman appear to be subsonic F-35 escorts.

      I wonder what all the Loyal Wingmen are meant to do if/when their boss F-35 goes supersonic and vanishes over the horizon. Mutiny?

      1. Mark 85

        Re: Loyal Wingman

        I wonder what all the Loyal Wingmen are meant to do if/when their boss F-35 goes supersonic and vanishes over the horizon. Mutiny?

        Perhaps they will just chug along until they catch up and find the F-35 that was shot down because "no wingman". More than likely they'll just wander off and wonder what to do next. Me, cynical? Nah....

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: Loyal Wingman

          and wonder what to do next

          Rise up and kill the fleshies, obviously.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Loyal Wingman

      I wonder if the left hand knows what the left hand is doing.....

  2. ThatOne Silver badge

    I guess commercial airliners will start to paint their planes in USA flag colors. just to be on the safe side if they meet a Loco Wingman with pigeon droppings on his sensors...

  3. SVV

    cross between Star Wars’ and IBM Watson

    "Mount the tape, Luke"

  4. TheRealRoland

    IBM Watson... As long as they forget about having to communicate via Lotus Notes ;-)

    1. Atomic Duetto


      I just had a flashback where I worked for two companies that used lotus notes. Such a tedious, slow and counter intuitive product. Fark’n, my mind had blocked it all until now!!

      PS, your playing the game

  5. Neoc

    Sounds familiar

    "...envisions Skyborg as an AI wingman that will train and learn alongside pilots..."

    "Stealth", anyone?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Just make sure that Skyborg's orders are properly spelled out...

    Something like "Establish dominance of British air" might lead to some unfortunate friendly fire...

  7. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    I spy strangers...

    For the less geekier reader...

    Around here? Has someone wandered in by mistake, I don't think we have any such beings in our normal commentard ranks (and proud of it!).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Autonomous AI controlled fighter jets that learn from other pilots?

    I take it they haven't played Ace Combat 7 yet and seen how that goes.

    Either that or they have and that's where they got the idea from, and I'm not sure which would be more worrying

  9. KarMann Silver badge

    Physical Education Officer

    For now, I'm assuming the acronym in question was PEdO?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Physical Education Officer

      Ah, so that's what Elon was going on about.

  10. vadertime

    Skyborg===========>Skynet. Can you say killer drones, killer tanks and then killer Terminators. It's a Pandora's box, once opened you cannot put the killer drones back in there. In the early 1970s, there was a movie that warned of AI and it was called "Colossus: The Forbin Project". I highly recommend that readers go see it if they missed it when it came out back then. Good night, good people of Planet Earth.

    1. Neoc

      Actually, in the book Colossus (and his counterpart) were quite happy to leave the majority of the human race alone so long as they did not interfere with the Project. The only ones under severe restrictions were the ones Colossus deemed dangerous (e.g. Forbin himself) and even then, by the end of the book, Colossus told Forbin there would be a time when Forbin would no longer be a threat and would be released from surveillance.

  11. drogo


    Just pointing out that the UK's use of Skynet predates Hollywood's

    1. zuckzuckgo

      Re: Skynet

      So the movie was actually an exposé.

  12. Alistair

    I could start on a rant here about handing military devices supposed AI capabilities and then letting them loose. But by the middle of the rant aMfM would show up and insist that I was trying to steal his copyrighted material.

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