Anduril adds AI aircraft 'Fury' to its autonomous fleet

The deal enhances Anduril's portfolio and broadens its reach within the Department of Defense.
Rizwan Choudhury
A 12 scale model of Fury, the group five autonomous air vehicle (AAV) designed by Blue Force Technologies.
A 12 scale model of Fury, the group five autonomous air vehicle (AAV) designed by Blue Force Technologies.

Source: Anduril Industries 

Anduril Industries has announced its strategic acquisition of Blue Force Technologies, a front-runner in autonomous aviation and aerostructural development. This acquisition, announced in a press release, not only augments Anduril's arsenal of autonomous systems but significantly broadens its operational reach within the US Department of Defense. Although the financial terms remain shrouded in secrecy, the implications for defense tech are monumental.

The Oculus founder’s foray into defense tech

Palmer Luckey, a tech entrepreneur better known for founding Oculus and its immersive virtual reality headsets, is steering Anduril Industries into the next frontier of autonomous military aviation. His latest revelation, an AI-infused, autonomous air vehicle christened "Fury," offers a glimpse into the future of defense capabilities. Embedded in Anduril's Lattice AI surveillance system—already operational along the US borders—the new Fury aircraft comes at a pivotal moment. The Department of Defense is keen on integrating low-cost, scalable AI technology into its operations, and Fury is likely to fit the bill.

Blue Force Technologies, based in North Carolina, is no stranger to high-tech aviation. Since 2019, the company has been meticulously developing Fury, an autonomous, high-performance air vehicle, utilizing proprietary rapid prototyping and open architecture. By executing successful trials of the flight software on VISTA—Variable Stability In-flight Simulator Test Aircraft—and the groundbreaking carbon fiber composite propulsion systems, Blue Force Technologies has showcased its capabilities in redefining aerial warfare.

Anduril’s plans for Fury’s development

To continue Fury's evolution and expand its operational facilities in North Carolina, Anduril is making substantial financial commitments. Unlike traditional players in the defense sector, Anduril's agility lies in its self-financed R&D ventures, enabling swift development cycles from ideation to deployment. This approach aligns well with the Department of Defense's increasing emphasis on autonomous and collaborative platforms, particularly at a time when maintaining strategic deterrence is more critical than ever.

US military branches, including the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, have openly voiced their intentions to incorporate advanced autonomous systems into their plans. Anduril’s move could be the fillip needed for developing an ecosystem that relies on intelligent software for mission-critical operations, involving minimal human intervention and maximizing assets' utility.

Earlier this year, Anduril successfully unveiled Lattice for Mission Autonomy, an AI-driven platform designed to foster dynamic collaboration among autonomous systems. This new acquisition seems to be a natural extension of Anduril's ambition to lead in the domain of autonomous warfare, aiming to bolster the development of operations like manned-unmanned teaming and other vital autonomous solutions with global implications.

With a proven track record in deploying integrated autonomous solutions, ranging from sensors to robotic systems in tactical environments worldwide, Anduril Industries is positioning itself as a linchpin in the transformation of defense technology.

Autonomy of the Air Force?

As reported earlier, in a bid to advance autonomous aviation, the US Air Force awarded a contract to Reliable Robotics. The objective was to explore the conversion of multi-engine transport aircraft into fully autonomous systems capable of managing every aspect of a flight, from taxiing to landing.

It aimed at aircraft that are key to the global operations of the United States military, like the Boeing C-17 "Globemaster III" and the Lockheed Martin C-5 "Galaxy." These workhorses of the Air Force enable rapid personnel deployment and the indefinite sustainment of supplies, meeting the US military's logistical needs on a global scale. It is not surprising that modern warfare extends beyond the mere exchange of firepower between armed forces. A consistent and reliable supply chain often proves to be the linchpin in determining the outcome of conflicts. In this manner, the Air Force could bolster its cargo operations without the need for additional pilot training or building more aircraft. This approach also holds the promise of enhancing safety measures.