Air Force


R2-D2 in the Cockpit? Air Force Testing 'Skyborg' AI Program

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In the near future, an Air Force pilot's wingman could be flown by artificial intelligence. The two might fly side-by-side in a highly contested war zone -- and the AI aircraft not only takes the lead, it begins making choices. Does it fire missiles or drop bombs ahead of its fighter counterpart? Probably, because the human response has a lag time, unlike a machine that can detect and react immediately, if necessary. It sounds very much like the Air Force's proposed Loyal Wingman program.


Transit: The Spaceship RPG - Fiddleback Productions DriveThruRPG.com

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TRANSIT takes place beyond our home planet, allowing you to traverse the unlimited depths of space and explore worlds outside our own galaxy. Your role as an Artificial Intelligence is to inhabit an interplanetary vessel, manage your resources, and direct your crew. You'll deploy your ship's officers into the field, hunt down criminals, engage in interstellar combat, and deliver supplies and colonists to remote settlements. You must rely on your resources to complete missions by acting through your ship, tech, and crew. Three different AI types – Combat, Command, and Support – lend themselves to varied and interesting game play, but it's when an AI is paired with a ship that the real diversity in character creation comes to the fore.


Plenty of Tech Companies Still Want Military Contracts

WIRED

Devaki Raj leaned over a gilded railing inside Times Square's Marriott Marquis last Thursday, racking her brain to find the words that won't get her in trouble. Minutes before, she had stood confidently in front of a conference room full of investors, academics, military contractors, and Air Force acquisitions officers to deliver a slick pitch as part of the Air Force's first ever startup demo day. In her pitch, Raj explained how her company, CrowdAI, has mixed machine learning with mapping technology to identify flooded Texas roadways in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, or decimated buildings after bombings in Aleppo. The pitch, delivered to a closed-door crowd the day before, had already earned CrowdAI a small grant from the Air Force, which she hopes will soon blossom into a formal military contract. But now, Raj was finding it trickier to answer my questions about what this technology might be used for in practice by the military--or in war.


Air Force builds new deep strike 'spy network' for air attack

FOX News

The E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System is a joint Air Force - Army program. The Joint STARS uses a multi-mode side looking radar to detect, track, and classify moving ground vehicles in all conditions deep behind enemy lines. The Air Force is massively speeding up a new networked surveillance system intended to collect, organize and disseminate pressing attack information in extremely high-risk environments including enemy stealth fighters, advanced air defenses and armed drones. "We do not want to recap JSTARS but create that same capability that protects soldiers and marines on the move. We want to replicate the technology, yet make it survivable," William Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Acquisition, Technology & Logistics, told an audience recently at an Air Force Association Symposium.


The Air Force Wants to Give You Its Credit Card

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Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, is something like Q for the Defense Department. He formerly ran the Strategic Capabilities Office, a secretive military skunkworks designed to figure out how to fight future wars. While there, he helped design swarms of tiny unmanned drones; he helped create Project Maven; and he tried to partner the Defense Department with the videogame industry. Now his new job may be even harder: Making the Air Force acquisitions process efficient. He's going to be leading a pitch day for the Air Force this week in New York City, and he spoke with WIRED about that and also where he sees the future of military technology going--from AI to hypersonic weapons to space. Nicholas Thompson: You're launching a new system very soon to help get startups very quickly signed up to Air Force contracts. Tell me how it works and why you are doing it. Will Roper: We've got to be able to work with the entire industry base, and even our fastest agreements still take a couple of months to get nailed down. That's too long for a startup that needs cash flow quickly. And so we really worked hard to hack our system and we've gotten down to where we can do credit-card-based awards on a single day.


The Secret Weapon for Saving Old Warplanes

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It's been a tough year or so for Air Force maintainers. High-profile aircraft failures plagued the service recently, including emergency landings of C-5 cargo aircraft, the grounding of the B-1 bomber fleet, and the loss of a C-130 propeller in mid-flight. The immediate causes of these accidents vary, the but root cause is the same: age. The average age of an Air Force aircraft is 28 years, and many planes are significantly older. Crews fly still fly the B-52 bomber, after all, with its average age of 56.


Machine Learning on 50 Million Smart Meters: Utility Powerhouse Extends C3 Platform Europe-wide

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In enterprise AI, C3 (formerly C3 IoT) is amassing an impressive and seemingly unmatched record, one that the company has extended with its latest win, the expansion of a five-year engagement with Enel, Europe's largest power utility, to encompass nearly 50 million smart meters in homes and businesses. This follows C3 contract wins last year with Royal Dutch Shell, the U.S. Air Force and 3M, along with partnerships with AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. In the large utilities space, other customers include Con Edison, covering the New York metropolitan area, and Engie, one of the biggest utilities in France. The new contract (dollar amount not disclosed) expands on C3's existing, five-year engagement for Enel in Italy involving 32 million smart meters. C3 will provide the €74.6 billion utility with AI and smart grid analytics applications enabling Enel to deploy the Unified Virtual Data Lake, integrating data across its retail, distribution, trading, renewables and conventional generation businesses.


U.S. Air Force Research Lab Awards GE TEAMS Program - sUAS News - The Business of Drones

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A Project Task Assignment for the Teaming-Enabled Architectures for Manned-Unmanned Systems (TEAMS) prototype program was recently awarded to GE Aviation. The project is under the authority of the Base Vertical Lift Consortium Project Agreement and is sponsored by the U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL). "The TEAMS program is a tremendous opportunity for GE to work closely with AFRL and our industry partners to prototype architectures that will enable the next generation of Manned-Unmanned Teaming capabilities," says John Kormash, director of Advanced & Special Programs for GE Aviation. "GE's experience and investments in the areas of architecture, modeling, simulation, and system instantiations will enhance the AFRL's objectives of developing open, flexible, and scalable solutions for tomorrow's autonomous vehicles." TEAMS is an architectural modeling and prototyping effort under the AFRL's Flexible, Assured Manned-Unmanned Systems (FAMUS) program.


Hi-tech ski helmet that allows skiers to video call friends on trial

Daily Mail

A high-tech augmented reality ski helmet which includes GPS, a speedometer and the ability video call friends on the slopes is being tested in Austria. Former Israeli Air Force pilot Alon Getz helped design the new cutting-edge technology as part of his start-up company RideOn. He said: 'I'm a software engineer, doing a lot of computer-vision and Artificial Intelligence. I was working in the defence industry leading Augmented Reality projects for the military. 'I'm also a snowboarder who goes snowboarding almost every year in the Alps.


Elon Musk shows off prototype of Mars-bound rocket but says SpaceX to shed 10% of workforce

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON/LOS ANGELES - SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has unveiled the first pictures of a retro-looking rocket that may one day carry people to the moon and Mars. Musk posted pictures on Twitter late Thursday of the Starship Hopper prototype, which awaits its first flight test in Texas in the coming weeks. "Starship test flight rocket just finished assembly at the @SpaceX Texas launch site. This is an actual picture, not a rendering," he wrote. The prototype built in Boca Chica, along the Gulf Coast of Texas, is 9 yards (8 meters) in diameter but is shorter than the future rocket will be.