The pilot of a real fighter fought a virtual enemy for the first time

Two American companies have announced the end of the world's first air combat between a real pilot and a virtual fighter jet controlled by artificial intelligence. The experiment is the first step towards delivering similar technology to US Air Force fighter pilots that will enable them to “fight” virtual opponents using augmented reality.

The concept will help to significantly reduce the costs of preparing for air combat, without coming into real contact with enemy aircraft.

The experiment involved an experimental Freeflight Composites Berkut 560 aircraft and a Chinese 5th generation stealth fighter J-20 modeled using Tactical AI EpiSci technology. The unusual duel took place at Camarillo Airport, California.

Freeflight Composites Berkut 560

EpiSci is based on the DARPA Alpha Dogfight program. It can be used to introduce AI-driven simulations into the cockpit that were previously only used on traditional ground-based simulators.

The virtual air combat used the ATARS onboard tactical augmented reality system, which includes the data display and control systems necessary to visualize augmented reality objects, and then to interact this virtual image with the environment as if it were real.