Kratos and Shield AI Advance AI-Piloted UAS Technology with Firejet Integration

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. have announced the successful integration of Shield AI’s Hivemind AI pilot into Kratos’ jet-powered UAS, starting with the Tactical Firejet. This achievement marks a crucial phase in their partnership to incorporate AI piloting capabilities across Kratos’ UAS lineup.

Prior successes of Shield AI include the autonomous flight of various aircraft types, including three classes of quadcopters, the MQ-35A V-BAT, and the F-16, utilizing the Hivemind AI pilot for fully autonomous air combat training. The recent accomplishment of implementing Hivemind into the Kratos Tactical Firejet underscores both companies’ commitment to expanding AI pilot technology into more UAS platforms, particularly aiming at further developments within the Valkyrie series.

Ryan Tseng, CEO and Co-Founder of Shield AI, stressed the efficiency and innovation driving this progress. “Our leap from over three years of development for the F-16 integration to less than six months for the Kratos Firejet underscores the tangible realization of our vision for portable, adaptable autonomy software capable of transforming military hardware deployment,” Tseng explained.

Steve Fendley, President of Kratos’ Unmanned Systems Division, lauded the collaboration’s fruitful outcome, emphasizing its potential to expedite the provision of critical technical and mission capability solutions for the Department of Defense (DoD). “With the Firejet as our initial focus, we’re setting the stage for a series of future advancements. We’re thrilled about the technological possibilities this partnership unlocks, offering high capability, cost-effective UAS options that significantly enhance the warfighter’s operational effectiveness,” said Fendley.

The Tactical Firejet is designed to fulfill dual roles: as a target system for comprehensive weapons-release training and as an offensive/defensive UAS, all within a sub $500K price point per aircraft. It promises a high-speed, maneuverable, and low-visibility solution to mimic adversary threats and support safe, effective training and operations in contested environments.

This collaboration between Kratos and Shield AI not only represents a leap forward in AI-driven UAS technology but also highlights the potential for swift, impactful advancements within the defense technology sector, promising to elevate military capabilities and operational readiness significantly.

Image: Kratos