Kratos and Shield AI Conduct AI-Piloted Flights on the Kratos Tactical Firejet

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Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (KTOS) and Shield AI, Inc. successfully complete the first phase of AI-piloted flight-testing on the Kratos family of UAS. Shield AI's Hivemind AI pilot has flown on the Kratos Tactical Firejet, marking a significant milestone in their integration project. The collaboration aims to productize another configuration of the Valkyrie with Shield AI's AI pilot, showcasing the rapid advancements in autonomy and AI design tools.
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The integration of Shield AI’s Hivemind into Kratos’ unmanned aerial systems represents a significant advancement in the field of autonomous military technology. This collaboration showcases the potential for rapid development cycles in defense technology, which historically have been much longer. The reported transition from contract signing to flight in less than 180 days for the Kratos Firejet is indicative of the agility that AI integration can bring to defense projects. This could lead to faster deployment of advanced systems in the field, providing a competitive edge to the military forces that adopt them.

The potential impact on Kratos' business could be substantial, as success in this venture might lead to increased interest and contracts from the Department of Defense and allied governments seeking to modernize their fleets with AI capabilities. However, the long-term implications will depend on the performance of these systems in operational environments and their ability to meet the rigorous demands of military use.

The announcement of the successful phase completion could have a positive impact on the investor sentiment towards both Kratos and Shield AI. The ability to rapidly integrate and deploy advanced AI systems in military hardware is a strong indicator of both companies' technical prowess and market positioning. Investors will likely monitor the progress of this partnership closely, as the defense sector is known for its high-value contracts.

It's important to note that the defense industry is subject to fluctuations based on government spending and geopolitical tensions. While the current news is positive, investors should consider the broader context, including defense budgets and international relations, when evaluating the potential long-term returns from such technological advancements.

The announcement underlines the increasing trend of defense entities leveraging commercial tech innovations to enhance their capabilities. The collaboration between Kratos and Shield AI is a prime example of how military procurement is evolving to incorporate rapid prototyping and deployment. This approach could lead to a shift in procurement strategies, with an emphasis on partnerships with tech companies that can provide cutting-edge solutions in a timely manner.

For stakeholders, including government and military officials, the successful integration of Hivemind into the Kratos Tactical Firejet may signal a paradigm shift in the acquisition of unmanned systems, potentially leading to an overhaul of existing fleets and doctrines to accommodate autonomous technologies.

Kratos and Shield AI use Firejet as first application of Shield AI’s Hivemind on the Kratos Family of UAS

SAN DIEGO, April 01, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq: KTOS), a Technology Company in the Defense, National Security and Global Markets and an industry-leading provider of high-performance, jet-powered unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and Shield AI, Inc., a defense technology company building the world’s best AI pilot, today announced the successful completion of the first phase of Shield’s AI-piloted flight-testing on-board the Kratos family of UAS as the two companies move toward productizing Shield AI’s pilot on these systems.

Hivemind Enabled Firejet Just Prior to Launch

Hivemind Enabled Firejet Just Prior to Launch

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Having successfully flown AI pilots on five aircraft — three classes of quadcopters, the MQ-35A V-BAT, and the F-16 in fully autonomous air combat training — Shield AI’s Hivemind AI pilot has now successfully flown on and controlled the Kratos Tactical Firejet. These successful flights are a major milestone in the comprehensive integration project as Shield AI and Kratos look to ultimately productize another configuration of the Valkyrie, in this case with Shield AI’s Hivemind AI pilot.

“Our substantial investments in autonomy and AI design tools, infrastructure, and pipelines are what enable Shield AI to rapidly integrate Hivemind onto different classes of aircraft and most importantly, fly them safely. We’re getting faster and faster. It was over three years from signing the contract to flying the F-16; now, it’s less than 180 days for the Kratos Firejet. The vision of portable autonomy software for military hardware has been realized, flown, and deployed by Shield AI,” said Ryan Tseng, Shield AI’s CEO and Co-Founder.

Hivemind-Directed Autonomous Maneuvering Underway

Hivemind-Directed Autonomous Maneuvering Underway

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

“The ability of our teams (Kratos and Shield AI) to collaborate and work together as two commercial entities driving toward technical mission capability solutions and systems to ultimately support the DoD provides a rapid path to system realization. Firejet is the first; there’s more to come and we’re excited about the technology, what it enables, the speed at which we can create and deliver these systems, and the broad application space and impact that these high capability, affordable UAS provide to the warfighter," said Steve Fendley, President of Kratos’ Unmanned Systems Division.

The Firejet, in its jet target system role, fills a variety of end-to-end weapons-release training, supporting surface-to-air and air-to-air engagements. Additionally, the Tactical Firejet offers an offensive/defensive jet UAS system in the sub $500K price range per aircraft with substantial mission systems and performance capabilities. In either mission configuration (target/tactical), the Firejet delivers a high-speed, high-maneuverability, low-signature solution for replicating threats or enabling no-risk-to-Warfighter-life operational effectiveness with a level of contested environment capability.

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About Shield AI
Founded in 2015, Shield AI is a venture-backed defense technology company whose mission is to protect service members and civilians with intelligent systems. In pursuit of this mission, Shield AI is building the world’s best AI pilot. Its AI pilot, Hivemind, has flown jets (F-16; MQM-178 Firejet), a vertical takeoff and landing drone (MQ-35 V-BAT), and three quadcopters (Nova, Nova 2, iPRD). The company has offices in San Diego, Dallas, Washington DC and abroad. Shield AI’s products and people are currently in the field actively supporting operations with the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. allies. For more information, visit Follow Shield AI on LinkedIn, X and Instagram.

About Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc.
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: KTOS) is a technology, products, system and software company addressing the defense, national security, and commercial markets. Kratos makes true internally funded research, development, capital and other investments, to rapidly develop, produce and field solutions that address our customers’ mission critical needs and requirements. At Kratos, affordability is a technology, and we seek to utilize proven, leading-edge approaches and technology, not unproven bleeding edge approaches or technology, with Kratos’ approach designed to reduce cost, schedule and risk, enabling us to be first to market with cost effective solutions. We believe that Kratos is known as an innovative disruptive change agent in the industry, a company that is an expert in designing products and systems up front for successful rapid, large quantity, low-cost future manufacturing which is a value-add competitive differentiator for our large traditional prime system integrator partners and also to our government and commercial customers. Kratos intends to pursue program and contract opportunities as the prime or lead contractor when we believe that our probability of win (PWin) is high, and any investment required by Kratos is within our capital resource comfort level. We intend to partner and team with a large, traditional system integrator when our assessment of PWin is greater or required investment is beyond Kratos’ comfort level. Kratos’ primary business areas include virtualized ground systems for satellites and space vehicles including software for command & control (C2) and telemetry, tracking and control (TT&C), jet powered unmanned aerial drone systems, hypersonic vehicles and rocket systems, propulsion systems for drones, missiles, loitering munitions, supersonic systems, space craft and launch systems, C5ISR and microwave electronic products for missile, radar, missile defense, space, satellite, counter UAS, directed energy, communication and other systems, and virtual & augmented reality training systems for the warfighter. For more information, visit

Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are made on the basis of the current beliefs, expectations and assumptions of the management of Kratos and are subject to significant risks and uncertainty. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. All such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and Kratos undertakes no obligation to update or revise these statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Although Kratos believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, these statements involve many risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from what may be expressed or implied in these forward-looking statements. For a further discussion of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to the business of Kratos in general, see the risk disclosures in the Annual Report on Form 10-K of Kratos for the year ended December 31, 2023, and in subsequent reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K and other filings made with the SEC by Kratos.

Press Contact:
Yolanda White
858-812-7302 Direct

Investor Information:


What is the ticker symbol for Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. mentioned in the PR?

The ticker symbol for Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. is KTOS.

What milestone did Kratos and Shield AI achieve in the PR?

Kratos and Shield AI successfully completed the first phase of Shield's AI-piloted flight-testing on the Kratos family of UAS.

Which AI pilot was used in the flight-testing on the Kratos Tactical Firejet?

Shield AI's Hivemind AI pilot was used in the flight-testing on the Kratos Tactical Firejet.

What is the vision of Shield AI as mentioned in the PR?

Shield AI aims to rapidly integrate Hivemind onto different classes of aircraft and ensure safe flights through substantial investments in autonomy and AI design tools.

What does the collaboration between Kratos and Shield AI aim to productize?

The collaboration aims to productize another configuration of the Valkyrie with Shield AI's Hivemind AI pilot.

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About KTOS

kratos defense & security solutions, inc. (nasdaq:ktos) is a specialized national security technology business providing mission critical products, services and solutions for united states national security priorities. kratos’ core capabilities are sophisticated engineering, manufacturing and system integration offerings for national security platforms and programs. areas of expertise include c5isr, satellite communication systems, electronic warfare, unmanned systems, missile defense, cyber warfare, cybersecurity, information assurance and critical infrastructure security. kratos has primarily an engineering and technically-oriented work force of approximately 3,900.