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A new simulation environment will use ‘digital twins’ to rapidly test and iterate “collaborative autonomous networked technologies,”.

The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is shifting the focus of its Golden Horde program from testing its own swarming weapons to developing a digital environment, nicknamed Colosseum, to test vendors bringing their own concepts.

“What we are looking to do is beginning a phase of an open, collaborative autonomy architecture…. which will be an environment where more players can come and compete their own versions of what autonomous collaborative weapons should be,” AFRL Director Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle said.

The move follows the second flight test Feb. 19 of AFRL’s in-house developed Collaborative Small Diameter Bomb (CSDB) after the first test failed to meet all its flight objectives.

The end goal of Golden Horde program is to increase the combat fire power of Air Force fighter jets. This helps explain the service’s desire to explore as many options for new weapons as possible.

While AFRL will hold a final flight test for CSDB this spring, it canceled the rest of the Golden Horde live test program, as reported by