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Gambit Unveiled: GA-ASI Reveals Groundbreaking Family of Collaborative Unmanned Combat Aircraft

Air dominance is a fundamental aspect of American and allied military strength – but it cannot be assumed. A variety of cutting-edge new planes and hazards imply that traditional methods of achieving and maintaining air supremacy will face growing challenges. To stay ahead, the U.S. Air Force and its reliable partners must modify their approach. That’s why the Air Force is adopting a new generation of cooperative combat aircraft – highly autonomous unmanned planes that will significantly extend the capabilities of human pilots in fifth-generation and newer fighters.

This is also why the global leader in unmanned aircraft, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., has developed the world’s first collection of unmanned collaborative aircraft: Gambit. These innovative unmanned systems will be more cost-effective than manned fighters. They also establish a buffer between enemy and friendly aircraft, where no human lives are endangered. Deploying them in greater numbers also helps the U.S. and allied forces maintain multiple advantages over opponents. Stealth aircraft are designed to delay detection from specific angles – typically to thwart ground-based radar trying to detect them from the front and below. However, when two, three, or more autonomous Gambit planes collaborate to image and perceive a target from various angles in the sky, it significantly aids in detecting and tracking the target.

Depending on their instructions, the unmanned systems might not take any action. They might transmit the developed track to a manned aircraft. One Gambit variant is designed to carry both air-to-air and/or air-to-ground weapons for air superiority sweeps and strike missions. Another Gambit plane features a stealthy design combined with mission systems to enhance strike missions with improved capabilities in the radio frequency range. A third aircraft is devoted to long-duration intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to create and sustain situational awareness in support of manned and unmanned incoming strike missions.

Lastly, since air dominance begins with training and certifying skilled human pilots, one Gambit model is a dedicated adversary for use in weapons school and similar settings to hone air combat proficiency. Counter-air is just one of the many tasks required to maintain superiority and only one of the applications for the Gambit series. Each aircraft shares about 70 percent commonality, with a universal core akin to practices in the automotive industry: once a car manufacturer assembles a frame, chassis, wheels, and other parts, it can proceed down one production line to become a family car or down another to transform into a luxury model with a distinct interior.

The same is true for Gambit, making each model more straightforward and less expensive to manufacture. What also sets the series apart is the cutting-edge software and other support systems that empower the aircraft. GA-ASI is the undisputed leader in autonomous aircraft systems, with several groundbreaking demonstrations supporting U.S. Air Force or other advanced initiatives.

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