The Air Force’s Secret New Fighter Jet Will Come With an R2D2

From popular mechanics
Air Force pilots could fly and fight together like Luke Skywalker and R2D2 in the not too distant future.
One of the top Air Force officials is confident that the service's secret new fighter jet will have an artificial intelligence co-pilot.
The AI ​​could take over important tasks, fly and fight the aircraft to prevent the human pilot from being overwhelmed.
The U.S. Air Force's secret new fighter jet, which it designed, built, and tested in just a year, will contain some sort of co-pilot with artificial intelligence - a trusted computer algorithm that human pilots can rely on to perform critical tasks in the air take over.
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According to Will Roper, the Air Force's assistant secretary for acquisitions, technology and logistics, who shocked the world in September when he revealed the surprising existence of the service's new, mysterious Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter.
The Air Force was incredibly keen on the sixth generation fighter and only confirmed that it exists and flies ... somewhere. However, since the initial announcement, there have been some clues about NGAD, such as which defense contractor likely built the aircraft. And now Roper has announced (via Breaking Defense) that the NGAD will have an "AI-assisted copilot, maybe even ARTUµ".
That's the callsign - a.k.a. R2 - Roper and his team trained the world's leading computer program µZero to operate a U-2 spy plane in California last week. This was the first time AI controlled a US military system.
In this groundbreaking experiment, the “crew” took part in an exercise that revolved around a simulated missile attack. The U-2 was tasked with locating enemy rocket launchers on the ground. The human pilot kept an eye out for enemy aircraft while the AI ​​took over tactical navigation and sensors to search for the launch vehicles.
Photo credit: A1C Luis A.Ruiz-Vazquez
Modern air warfare - even flying the airplane - is getting more and more complicated. Pilots have to master interfaces, procedures as well as individual sensors and weapon systems.
In addition to monitoring traditional things like altitude, speed, fuel status, and other factors in flight, a fifth generation fighter pilot must also keep an eye on a variety of sensors, from the human eyeball to infrared sensors to threat warning systems. and radar. Once combat begins, flying becomes exponentially more complicated as pilots have to consider the enemy's air and surface-to-air capabilities, strengths and weaknesses - while still flying on the plane.
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An AI-based copilot can take on relatively simple tasks, e.g. B. Communication, threat monitoring, network security and navigation. ARTUµ, which took over the navigation and sensors of a U-2 and brought it together to search for rocket launchers, appears to be at the more advanced end of the AI ​​cockpit buddy spectrum.
In the meantime, a human pilot could focus on tasks reserved for humans, e.g. These include flying the aircraft, approving gun clearances, approving changes to flight plans, and communicating with other people at home, in the air, and on the ground. The AI ​​could even give the pilot the freedom to use the most important tool available to the human mind - an imagination - to look at a developing situation and use it to their advantage.
Roper recently revealed his plans at a Defense Writer's Group meeting on breaking defense:
“What I expect in the co-pilot role of pilot - the role of Luke Skywalker, R2D2 - is that pilots gain an instinct, just as they have an instinct for stealth today when their AI crew pilot is performing well might perform well, and will hand more of the reins to him. And [the pilot] will have a similar instinct when things don't go well and will pull the reins to the humans. "
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