The US Department of Defense’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy highlighted the technology's ability to improve flight safety and aircraft maintenance.

Artificial intelligence (AI) software could enhance the situational awareness of military commanders as well as pilots, and other large equipment operators, by acting as another set of eyes and ears on the battlefield, the Pentagon said in a summary of its strategy posted online 12 February. The strategy driven and coordinated by the Defense Department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), established in June 2018 and led by Lt Gen Jack Shanahan.

“AI applied to perception tasks, such as imagery analysis, can extract useful information from raw data and equip leaders with increased situational awareness. AI can generate and help commanders explore new options so that they can select courses of action that best achieve mission outcomes, minimizing risks to both deployed forces and civilians,” the report says. “AI also has the potential to enhance the safety of operating aircraft, ships, and vehicles in complex, rapidly changing situations by alerting operators to hidden dangers.”


Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II


The report noted that the US Air Force is already working with the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit and JAIC to create prototypes of predictive maintenance software.

“These commercially developed AI-based applications have the potential to predict more accurately maintenance needs on equipment, such as the E-3 Sentry, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-35 Lightning II, and Bradley Fighting Vehicle, thereby improving availability and reducing costs,” says the report.