Billionaire SpaceX founder Elon Musk shocked the world when he said that F-35 Stealth fighter jet which is considered among the best of the fighter jets presently will become irrelevant in less than a decade from now and also said that “the fighter jet era has passed” and also went on to make another controversial statement when he said that a remote-controlled Stealth UCAS in control of a human, but with its maneuvers augmented by autonomy could easily defeat a manned F-35 even when in superior numbers.

While many dismissed Elon Musk observation has an imaginary future aerial encounter which is unlikely to be encountered any time soon, while many came in defence of the F-35 program, but several illustrations of an imaginary future aerial encounter do predict that AI-powered Fighter jets will overwhelming Manned Fighter jets in future even if both jets have the same level of technologies in them.

AI-Powered Fighter jets coordinated by a human crew onboard stealthy fighter-bomber-size aircraft with a robust sensor suite can overwhelm numerically more manned stealth fighter jet in a coordinated long-range Beyond visual range attack. Scenarios tested out by independent research bodies on future aerial encounters suggests that even with the advantage of 2:1, manned jets will suffer 75 percent losses.

In one of the scenarios tested, 8 F-35 lost 6 jets in the first few minutes of detection with no loss to the AI-Powered UCAS guided by a manned aircraft at long range. Fusing sensor data from multiple widely spaced sources allows onboard systems of an AI-Powered to coordinate kill probability of each target detected by them and depending on the position of the aircraft each kill will be designated to each UCAS and choice of longe range air to air weapon to take them out.

Each UCAS will know what the other is doing what targets have been assigned to them and which target they are been assigned to avoid in the fog of war deploying mutiple jets going after the same target is avoided and each target kill probability is calculated way before even the missile is launched.

For India which is yet to introduce 5th generation stealth fighter jets in its fleet, taking on an AI-Powered UCAS with stealth caablities armed with advanced Beyond visual range missiles is a scary scenario if one of our adversaries in the region can introduce it in the region first. India’s first stealth fighter jet AMCA will come with capabilities to engage and manage several long-range Unmanned Combat Air Systems (UCAS) in contested airspace and act as a Mothership with Human Crew to coordinate such attacks.

HAL’s Unmanned Wingman concept and DRDO Ghaatak UCAV fighter bomber can be controlled by AMCA in the future. While Ghaatak UCAV will be used to enter contested air space for bombing missions, HAL’s Unmanned Wingman will feature autonomy air defence roles but Unmanned Wingman which has subsonic speed and payload of only 250kgs will be able to carry only Two Astra type Beyond visual range missiles but as a first stage development, it will ultimately create necessary technical know-how to develop 10-15 tonnes AI-Powered UCAS in near future which will be able to carry at least 6 long-range Beyond visual range missiles and come loaded with different sensors for perfect data fusion and complete awareness of the situation.


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