WATCH NOW: Fighter ace develops next gen tech to battle emerging China threat

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – A veteran group of fighter aces and tech innovators developed a technology they believe will help win the artificial intelligence race against China.

“We must do something about the investment China is making in cyber and AI, as well, because in certain spheres, I believe they are much ahead of us,” said Daniel Robinson, CEO and founder of Red 6.

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Robinson and his team developed what they call a “revolutionary approach” to augmented reality – a technology that enables fighter pilots to go up in real airplanes and train against virtual enemies.

Red 6 pilot wearing EVE helmet display.

“The whole reason I started this company is pilots must fly,” Robinson, a former F-22 pilot, told Fox News. “We can’t do this in simulators.”

“The beautiful thing with this technology is it’s reset, reset, reset,” Robinson continued.

He said a traditional flight hour may give a pilot three looks at a problem set. But using this technology, “you may get 8, 9, 10 looks at the problem set using this,” Robinson told Fox News.

Daniel Robinson, Founder and CEO of Red 6

The U.S. Air Force gave Red 6 a $70 million contract last year. The company expects to see its tech in a fighter jet within 18 months.

The contract was awarded around the same time critics argued that the Department of Defense lacked agility and accountability in the tech sector.

In September, the former chief software officer of the Air Force and Space Force, Nicolas Chailan, published a scathing letter on LinkedIn when he announced his resignation.

Plane used by Red 6 pilots for test flights.

“If the US can’t match the booming, hardworking population in China, then we have to win by being smarter, more efficient, and forward-leaning through agility, rapid prototyping and innovation,” Chailan wrote. “We have to be ahead and lead. We can’t afford to be behind.”

Robinson told Fox News there is a lot of friction between startups and the bureaucracy within the DOD.

“Innovation is happening in small, agile startups such as Red 6 that are going at the speed of heat,” Robinson said. 

“Then you have these companies that are so disruptive, making technology so quickly trying to mesh with the behemoth that is the Department of Defense that doesn’t know how to fully plug these technologies into a largely bureaucratic system, and that leads to … conflict and to difficulty in terms of taking innovative technologies and getting them to the war fighter very, very quickly,” Robinson continued. 

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