For the first time, artificial intelligence, also known as AI, controlled the sensor and navigation systems of a real military aircraft during a training flight at Beale Air Force Base in California.
On Wednesday, the 9th Reconnaissance Wing press release announced that the U.S. Air Force flew AI for the first time as a working flight crew member yesterday, a huge step forward for national defense in the digital age.
The AI algorithm developed by Air Combat Command’s U-2 Federal Laboratory flew aboard a U-2 Dragon Lady assigned to Beale AFB, better known as Recce Town, USA. Developed by a small team of researchers led by Maj Ray Tierney, the algorithm trained the AI to perform certain in-flight tasks that would otherwise be performed by the pilot.
The test flight was the culmination of years of concerted efforts by the Air Force to apply cutting-edge technology to military operations as it competes with other world powers in the digital age. The flight was part of a specially constructed scenario in which the AI competed against another dynamic computer algorithm to prove the new technology. The result showed that the pilot and AI had successfully teamed up to share the U-2’s sensor to achieve mission objectives against the dynamic algorithm.
The Beale team developed this algorithm in response to a direct challenge from Dr. Will Roper, Air Force Assistant Secretary for Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics. Dr. Roper challenged Beales Federal Lab just two months ago, increasing the importance of achievement. The lab carried out Roper’s challenge with an AI design that can be applied beyond the U-2 to further strengthen shared control and control of all domains across the DOD.
Col Heather Fox, 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander, stated that the U-2 Federal Laboratory is only part of Beale’s drive to innovate for the service and its mutual partners:
“This is one of the many ways the 9th Scout Wing innovates to meet the Department of Defense’s toughest challenges. The U-2 is the perfect platform to advance state-of-the-art military technology, which can easily be transferred to other partners of the Air Force and the joint airlines. I am very proud of the forward-looking achievements of Maj Tierney and the entire Federal Lab team. You are making history today! “
Fox went on to explain the uniqueness of the 9th Scout Wing and what it brings to the fight:
“Recce Town is unlike any other wing in the Air Force. The 9th Reconnaissance Wing provides formal training, maintains forces, and continuously and concurrently conducts missions from multiple locations around the world. “
The U-2 Federal Lab Laboratory organically engineered this application of AI technology to be easily transferable to other major weapon systems and plans to further refine the technology. It is a 15 U.S.C. A compliant organization was formed to bring together a confluence of warfighter, developer and acquirer that are vertically integrated under one operational roof.
The lab was developed by Recce Town Airmen to accelerate our country’s national defense strategy, including edge development – a concept that integrates new software onto operating systems in a confined, secure environment.
The U-2 federal laboratory was approved by the National Institute for Standards and Technology as part of the federal government’s 20th laboratory accreditation program.
The historic AI flight comes just two months after the U-2 Federal Laboratory first updated the in-flight software during a U-2 training mission. The team used Kubernetes, an open source container orchestration system, to automate the deployment, scaling, and management of computing applications. another military first.
The cutting edge technology is just one example of an emerging culture of innovation in Recce Town. The 9th Reconnaissance Wing uses its recently created and unique Wing A staff organization, accelerates the AI, drives its logistics concept “All over the world” and quickly integrates cyber functions into its missions – everything happens in Recce Town, USA.
The US Air Force also ironically remarked, “Who says the old dog can’t come up with new tricks for their Air Force and nation?”