USA: F-35A and F-15EX might soon fly with Q-58 Valkyrie drones by their side

The US Air Force is investigating how to control unmanned drone from its latest fighter jets, the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter and the F-15EX. The unmanned fighters would act as wingmen to manned fighters, scanning the skies for aerial threats.

USA F 35A and F 15EX might soon fly with Q 58 Valkyrie drones by their side Q-58 Valkyrie drone (Picture source: Senior Airman Joshua Hoskins )

Those robotic wingmen in the Air Force would be XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned drones.

Future versions of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter and F-15EX Eagle would be equipped with the hardware and software to control multiple semi-autonomous drones. The Air Force is in discussions with Boeing and Lockheed respectively to modify their F-15EX and F-35A Block 4 fighters to accommodate the datalinks and processors from the Skyborg effort.

Skyborg is the Air Force’s overarching program for developing fighter-style drones that can accompany manned fighters into combat while loosely under the control of a pilot in a manned fighter, a controller aboard a larger support plane or someone on the ground. The Air Force Research Laboratory is also experimenting with drone-maker Kratos’s XQ-58 Valkyrie pilotless fighter.