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Frank Kendall Says Autonomous Pilot Program Could Stall Without Funding

Frank Kendall,

Secretary,

DAF

Frank Kendall Says Autonomous Pilot Program Could Stall Without Funding

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has warned that failure by Congress to pass a full budget for 2024 could delay the Collaborative Combat Aircraft program by a year.

CCA is the U.S. Air Force’s effort to develop an autonomous pilot that can pair with humans, Breaking Defense reported Saturday

The service branch is asking for $392 million for the program for fiscal year 2024.

Kendall, a past Potomac Officers Club event speaker and a 2023 Wash100 winner, introduced CCA in 2021 to compete with China in Taiwan, where much of the U.S. rival’s air power is concentrated.

Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California, Kendall shared that while parts of CCA are already in development, the 2024 funding will be critical to maintaining progress. He said the potential one-year delay provides an “enormous head start” to China.

Kendall has spoken in the past about the potential impacts of insufficient funding. At a November event, he explained that the Air Force would be unable to start new programs if Congress opts to pass a continuing resolution instead of a full budget.

CRs cap government spending at prior-year levels.

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Tags: Breaking Defense Collaborative Combat Aircraft continuing resolution fiscal year 2024 budget Frank Kendall Speaker News US Air Force