U.S., Japan to Develop AI-based Drones for Tokyo’s Next Fighter Jet

Japan is part of the Global Combat Air Program consortium that will develop fighters that control drones
  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 07:41 AM, December 23, 2023
  • 1149
U.S., Japan to Develop AI-based Drones for Tokyo’s Next Fighter Jet
Drones operating alongside fighter jet; BAE systems illustration

An agreement for joint research on artificial intelligence-based drones that will operate alongside Japan’s next fighter aircraft was signed between the U.S. Department of Defense and the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

The objective of the agreement signed on December 22 is to revolutionize airborne combat by merging state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and machine learning with advanced unmanned air vehicles and is a direct result of the December 2022 U.S., Japan MoD-DoD joint statement on cooperation for Japan’s future aircraft, the U.S. Air Force said in a statement.

The AI developed in this joint research is expected to be applied to UAVs operated alongside Japan’s next fighter aircraft.

Japan MoD and the U.S. DoD will continue to coordinate and expand bilateral cooperation on UAVs.

Japan-U.S. efforts in this endeavor are beneficial for maintaining the inter-operability and technological advantages of the Japan-U.S. alliance, the statement said.

U.S., Japan to Develop AI-based Drones for Tokyo’s Next Fighter Jet
Global Combat Air Program (GCAP) jets flying near Mount Fuji, Japan; BAE Systems Illustration

Drones operating alongside fighter jets are expected to conduct reconnaissance and strike missions while taking many decisions autonomously.

On December 14, Ministers from Japan, UK and Italy signed the "Global Combat Air Programme - GCAP  treaty, which marks the design and delivery of a next generation fighter aircraft by 2035.

The GCAP endeavors to develop a sixth generation stealth fighter jet, one of whose features will be the control of several UAVs that will penetrate deep into enemy space while allowing the fighter to operate from a stand off distance.

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