Military Embedded Systems

Autonomy Core System aboard unmanned aircraft completes first tests


May 14, 2021

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

U.S. Air Force photo.

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. The 96th Test Wing took part in a series of flight tests using a 19-foot unmanned aircraft launched from Tyndall Air Force Base from April 29 to May 5. Inside the aircraft, the Autonomy Core System (ACS), identified as the “brain” of the autonomous aircraft, made its first three flights for the Autonomous Attritable Aircraft Experiment.

The ACS is part of the AFRL Skyborg Vanguard program. According to officials, Skyborg’s goal is to develop low cost, unmanned aircraft to provide increased combat capability by teaming those aircraft with traditional manned fighters.

The ACS is designed to operate by receiving basic commands from a ground station or airborne fighter and fly the aircraft by deciding on the best flight path and throttle settings to comply with the command.

Officials in attendance claim the aircraft controllers on the ground provided commands to the ACS during this test series. In the future, they say the plan is for direct manned-unmanned teaming via commands sent from a manned F-16 Fighting Falcon to the ACS onboard the unmanned aircraft.


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