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Air Force

Air Force Betting on New Robotic Wingman


The next year will be pivotal for the Air Force's effort to acquire a new class of autonomous drones, as industry teams compete for a chance to build a fleet of robotic wingmen that will soon undergo operational experimentation. The "Skyborg" program is one of the service's top science-and-technology priorities under the "Vanguard" initiative to deliver game-changing capabilities to its warfighters. The aim is to acquire relatively inexpensive, attritable unmanned aircraft that can leverage artificial intelligence and accompany manned fighter jets into battle. "I expect that we will do sorties where a set number are expected to fly with the manned systems, and we'll have crazy new [concepts of operation] for how they'll be used," Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Will Roper said during an online event hosted by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. The platforms might even be called upon to conduct kamikaze missions.

Robot dogs join US Air Force for major exercise, could be 'key to next-gen warfare'


New Delhi: In a bid to increase use of artificial intelligence in the military, the US Air force conducted a major exercise with robot dogs trained to scout for threats before their human counterparts enter the field. The four-legged, headless, mechanical creatures were made to exit an aircraft and look for signs of danger at the Nellis Air Force Base in the US state of Nevada last week. They are part of an Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) that the US Air force is building, which will use artificial intelligence and data analytics to detect counter threats to the US military. "Valuing data as an essential war fighting resource, one no less vital than jet fuel or satellites, is the key to next-gen warfare," Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, told CNN. The dogs have been manufactured by Ghost Robotics, a company based in Philadelphia, and are called Vision 60 UGVs, or "autonomous unmanned ground vehicles".

Hitting the books: How China uses AI to influence its 1.4 billion citizens


The battle for international hegemony didn't stop with the fall of the Reichstag in 1945, or of the Soviet Union in 1991 -- it has simply moved online. Today, states and their actors are waging a digital cold war with artificial intelligence systems at the heart of the fight. As Russian President Vladimir Putin said in 2017, "Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world." In T-Minus AI, the US Air Force's first Chairperson for Artificial Intelligence, Michael Kanaan examines the emergence of AI as a tool for maintaining and expanding State power. Russia, for example, is pushing for AI in every aspect of its military complex, while China, as you can see in the excerpt below, has taken a more holistic approach, with the technology infiltrating virtually all strata of Chinese society.

Robot dogs join high-tech US Air Force exercise


It looked like a scene from science fiction. But the exercise conducted last week, one of the US military's largest ever high-tech experiments, wasn't a movie set. Flying into a possibly hostile airstrip aboard an Air Force C-130, the robot dogs were sent outside the aircraft to scout for threats before the humans inside would be exposed to them, according to an Air Force news release dated September 3. The electronic canines are just one link in what the US military calls the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). It uses artificial intelligence and rapid data analytics to detect and counter threats to US military assets in space and possible attacks on the US homeland with missiles or other means.

AI to take on human pilots in real-world fighter aircraft trials


AI will face off against human pilots in real-world fighter aircraft by 2024, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper revealed on Wednesday. The Pentagon announced the plan a month after an AI system demolished an Air Force pilot in a virtual dogfight. An algorithm developed by defense contractor Heron Systems swept a best-of-five aerial duel versus an F-16 pilot wearing a VR helmet. The new trials will test how the AI's capabilities transfer to the real world, Esper explained on Wednesday at the Pentagon's first AI Symposium: The AI agent's resounding victory demonstrated the ability of advanced algorithms to out-perform humans in virtual dogfights. To be clear, AI's role in our lethality is to support human decision-makers, not replace them.

Anduril's New Drone Offers to Inject More AI Into Warfare


They spent hours circling the sky, seeking, among other things, surface-to-air missile launchers lurking in the brush. The missiles they found weren't enemy ones. They were props for early test flights of a prototype military drone stuffed with artificial intelligence--the latest product from Anduril, a defense-tech startup founded by Palmer Luckey, the creator of Oculus Rift. The new drone, the Ghost 4, shows the potential for AI in military systems. Luckey says it is the first generation that can perform various reconnaissance missions, including searching an area for enemy hardware or soldiers, under the control of a single person on the ground.

NIST benchmarks show facial recognition technology still struggles to identify Black faces


Every few months, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) releases the results of benchmark tests it conducts on facial recognition algorithms submitted by companies, universities, and independent labs. A portion of these tests focus on demographic performance -- that is, how often the algorithms misidentify a Black man as a white man, a Black woman as a Black man, and so on. Stakeholders are quick to say that the algorithms are constantly improving with regard to bias, but a VentureBeat analysis reveals a different story. In fact, our findings cast doubt on the notion that facial recognition algorithms are becoming better at recognizing people of color. That isn't surprising, as numerous studies have shown facial recognition algorithms are susceptible to bias.

Pentagon: Chinese Air Force fast-becoming massive threat

FOX News

Beijing now controls the largest navy in the world and is attempting to double the size of its nuclear warhead stockpile over the next decade; reaction from Fox News senior strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane, chairman of the Institute for the Study of War. New attack drones, 5th-generation stealth fighter jets, reconfigured cargo planes and Russian-built air defenses are making China's Air Force even deadlier. In fact, all of these advances present a great concern to U.S. war planners. The size of the People's Liberation Army Air Force is reported to include a total of 2,500 aircraft, making it the third-largest in the world, according to the Pentagon's 2020 China Military Power report. U.S. threat assessors are not merely concerned about the size of the Chinese Air Force but the increasing technical sophistication and multi-mission tactics with which it operates.

Air Force Expands Predictive Maintenance


The U.S. Air Force is expanding its embrace of predictive analytics tools to keep pace with maintenance demands for its huge fleet of fighters, bombers, tankers, transports and helicopters. There is no shortage of U.S. military aircraft, with estimates ranging as high as 5,400 for the Air Force alone. The problem has been keeping that air armada flying. According to Air Force Times, aircraft readiness as measured as a percentage of planes able to fly has steadily decreased over the past decade. Hence, the service has been enlisting analytics and AI software companies to help get a handle on maintaining increasingly complex aircraft loaded with electronics gear.

Air Force, Navy and Army merge attack tactics into Joint All Domain Command and Control

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on A forward-operating, satellite-networked Air Force drone comes across a small, moving group of enemy surface ships heading toward vulnerable areas, when instant data is sent to Navy ships' commanders and land-based Army weapons operators in real-time, enabling a coordinated, multi-pronged attack using deck-fired Tomahawk missiles fired from the ocean, land-based attack rockets and fighter jets armed with air-to-surface weapons. This possible scenario, in which land, sea and air warriors and weapons system share information in real-time across vast, otherwise dispersed areas to optimize attack is precisely what the Pentagon intends with its new doctrinal and technical approach to future war. The Army, Navy and Air Force each have secure information-sharing combat network technology programs.