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U.S. To Equip MQ-9 Reaper Drones With Artificial Intelligence

#artificialintelligence

The Pentagon's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center has awarded a $93.3 million contract to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI), makers of the MQ-9 Reaper, to equip the drone with new AI technology. The aim is for the Reaper to be able to carry out autonomous flight, decide where to direct its battery of sensors, and to recognize objects on the ground. The contract, announced at the end of last month, builds on a successful test earlier this year. In some ways this is not a major development, more of an incremental step using existing technology. What makes it significant is the drone that is being equipped, and what it will be able to do afterwards.


Pentagon sends B-52 bombers to Persian Gulf, as US launches airstrikes in Somalia after pulling out

FOX News

Former CIA director, author of the book'Undaunted,' John Brennan provides insight on'Fox News Sunday.' The U.S. military flew a pair of B-52 bombers to the Middle East Thursday from Barksdale AFB in Louisiana the second deterrence mission against Iran in recent weeks and comes on the same day U.S. drones attacked al-Qaeda-linked'explosives experts' in Somalia. "We have seen some indications of increased attack planning by Iranian-linked forces inside Iraq" said one U.S. military official who declined to be identified to discuss the sensitive nature of the information. "Presidential transitions are normally a time when our adversaries try to test us," the official added. U.S. military forces are drawing down to 2,500 in Iraq and Afghanistan before January 20th.


Military robots perform worse when humans won't stop interrupting them

New Scientist

When soldiers are teamed with robots, the human need to interfere may negate the benefits of robotic assistance, a new US military project has discovered. But letting military artificial intelligence proceed without human supervision raises troubling ethical questions. The System-of-Systems Enhanced Small Unit (SESU) project foresees a team of around 200 to 300 soldiers augmented with swarms of small drones and robotic ground vehicles.


Dexterous robots are coming to the US Air Force – CalvinAyre.com – IAM Network

#artificialintelligence

A "mechanized infantry division" in the military may take on an entirely different meaning in the future. The idea of enhanced technology being integrated into body armor to produce super soldiers is not a new concept, but a new project launched by the U.S. Air Force could take things to a whole new level. The military branch has given a contract to a robotics firm specializing in artificial intelligence (AI) solutions and which is designed to lead to the introduction of "dexterous robotic systems." Sarcos Defense, a subsidiary of Sarcos Robotics, was awarded the contract. The parent company is dedicated to the development of advanced robotics and electro-mechanical systems.


Japan considered drone fighters under ex-defense chief Taro Kono

The Japan Times

The introduction of unmanned fighter jets has been considered to succeed the Air Self-Defense Force's aging F-2s, which are expected to start being retired within two decades, as part of efforts to reduce development costs, according to government officials. The proposal was made earlier this year by Taro Kono, who was defense chief until last month before he became administrative reform minister in new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's Cabinet. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said discussions in the Defense Ministry were, however, suspended in the wake of the government's decision in June to scrap its plan to deploy the U.S.-developed Aegis Ashore land-based defense system, designed to counter missile threats from North Korea. Japan plans to start work on a new fighter jet in fiscal 2024 together with U.S. or British companies, and aims to introduce it in fiscal 2035 when the current F-2s are scheduled to start being retired. The ministry estimates that at least ¥1.2 trillion is needed to develop a manned fighter jet, while a drone -- which has no space for a pilot and requires no safety equipment -- costs much less to build.


The National Guard's Fire-Mapping Drones Get an AI Upgrade

WIRED

More than 3 million acres of California have burned this year, and 18,000 firefighters are still battling 27 major wildfires across the sooty state sometimes called golden. And every day, high above the smoke, a military drone with a wingspan roughly 10 times that of LeBron James feeds infrared video of the flames back to March Air Reserve Base, east of Los Angeles, to help map the destruction and assist firefighters. These MQ-9 "Reaper" drones don't usually fly domestic--they're on standby in case the Air Force needs them for overseas reconnaissance. But climate change has helped make crisscrossing California gathering video a new fall tradition for the 163rd Attack Wing. Its drones have helped map wildfires every year since 2017, thanks to special permission from the secretary of defense.


Air Force Betting on New Robotic Wingman

#artificialintelligence

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'

#artificialintelligence

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".


Robot dogs join high-tech US Air Force exercise

#artificialintelligence

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.


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

WIRED

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.