STUNNING photos have shown the power of a one-of-a-kind aircraft being flown entirely by an artificial intelligence pilot.

Lockheed Martin, a military tech corporation, joined with the US Air Force Test Pilot School and other partners to host an event showcasing the X-62A Variable In-flight Simulation Test Aircraft (Vista).

US Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall flew in the modified aircraft to test the capabilities of AI and autonomy.

“The potential for autonomous air-to-air combat has been imaginable for decades, but the reality has remained a distant dream up until now,” said Kendall in a press release.

“In 2023, the X-62A broke one of the most significant barriers in combat aviation. This is a transformational moment, all made possible by breakthrough accomplishments of the ACE team.”

During Kendall’s flight, the X-62A performed several tactical maneuvers as agents responded to simulated threats in real-time.


Neither Kendall nor the safety pilot sitting in the backseat touched the controls as the X-62A showed off its autonomous capabilities.

“AI is really taking the most capable technology you have, putting it together, and using it on problems that previously had to be solved through human decision-making,” said Kendall.

“It’s automation of those decisions and it’s very specific.”

Vista is an AI pathfinder that helps with the development and testing of new techniques with uncrewed vehicles.

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The tech is created by a group of teams, who have installed live AI agents into the X-62A’s systems within less than a year.

The aircraft has participated in the first matchup between AI and humans.

AI is really taking the most capable technology you have, putting it together and using it on problems that previously had to be solved through human decision-making

US Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall

It has also completed more than 100,000 lines of fight-critical software changes in 21 test flights.

“The need for innovation at speed and scale is greater than ever. The X-62A VISTA is a crucial platform in our efforts to develop, test, and integrate AI, as well as to establish AI certification standards that will revolutionize the future of aerospace,” said John Clark, Vice President and general manager of Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. told PR Newswire.

“Our proven hardware and software architecture enable safe and controlled environments for AI agents and advanced algorithms to rapidly prototype and develop.”

Because Lockheed Martin is able to perform a series of complex tests it greatly helps with Vista’s capabilities.


The X-62A Vista is an experimental aicraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin.

  • It is a training and experimental aircraft used to test the advancements of AI for the US Air Force.
  • It is roughly 48 feet and seven inches in length or 14.8 meters.
  • Its wingspan is 32 feet and two inches or 9.8 meters.
  • The Vista was flown by an AI-driven agent for more than 17 hours.
  • This marked the first time AI was used to operate a tactical aircraft.
  • Its takeoff weight is 42,300 pounds or 19,187 kilograms.
  • The craft can carry two crew members, including a pilot and a safety pilot.
  • The total weight of the aircraft is about 26,463 pounds or 12,002 kilograms.

It allows the software to make quick changes and frequently perform flight tests.

This helps accelerate the pace of AI and autonomy development to meet any urgent priorities in national defense.

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The architecture has also proven to be reliable and strong enough to transition to third-party distributed hardware that creates safe flight test objectives as shown by Vista.

Lockheed Martin is an industry leader in using AI-enabled autonomy with human oversight in operational speed, cutting sustainment costs.