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L'esortazione del CNO ... "La Marina dovrebbe muoversi più velocemente nel programma NGAD" ...

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The Navy has to move quicker in its development and fielding of a sixth-generation fighter, the service’s top uniformed officer said Tuesday.
Speaking at a virtual forum hosted by Defense One, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday emphasized that the service cannot afford to move at the same pace it did when developing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lighting II.
“We can’t wait until 2045 or 2050 to field the next manned aircraft, if that’s what we think is required. We also have to come to grips with what is required: what do we think the future’s going to hold if we continue to develop and invest in weapons that are more precise and that have range and that, one would argue, will be doing fewer air-to-air combat type of scenarios?” Gilday said.

news.usni.orgCNO Gilday: Navy Must Move Faster on Next Generation Air Dominance Program …

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Quando, giusto un mese fa, venne annunciata l'esistenza di un dimostratore segreto del caccia di 6^ generazione americano, vi fu chi esaminò le capacità tecnologiche dei vari produttori aerospaziali d'oltreoceano per tentare di capire quale di loro avesse realizzato l'oggetto misterioso ... 

... defenseone.com ... https://www.defenseone.com/business/2020/09/who-secretly-building-usafs-new-fighter/168541/ ...

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  • 4 months later...

Secondo Jane's ...

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The United States may field a new fighter aircraft type by fiscal year (FY) 2029, according to a related contract notification posted on 4 March (*).
The contract awarded to Raytheon for AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) aircraft integration support lists several aircraft types that carry the system, before expanding its remit to potentially include those existing types that do not, as well as a type or types that have yet to enter into service.

... janes.com ... https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/us-may-field-new-fighter-by-fy-2029 ...

(*) ... vedasi alla voce AIR FORCE ... https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Contracts/Contract/Article/2525209/ ...

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The Air Force and Navy are working together on the Next-Generation Air Dominance program, and the Navy version has a good chance of being unmanned, said Rear Adm. Gregory Harris, the Navy’s director of air warfare, during a Navy League virtual event March 30.
NGAD will be a family of systems for both the Air Force and Navy, and the centerpiece of the Navy variant will be the FA-XX, an aircraft that will succeed the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Harris said.

... airforcemag.com ... https://www.airforcemag.com/navy-air-force-team-on-new-fighter-as-navy-aims-for-50-percent-robot-jets/ ...

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The Navy is leaning toward replacing its fleet of Super Hornets with another manned fighter that will work with emerging unmanned aircraft concepts under the umbrella of the service’s Next Generation Air Dominance program.
Rear Adm. Gregory Harris, who leads the chief of naval operation’s air warfare directorate (OPNAV N98), said Tuesday that the aircraft following the Super Hornets will “most likely be manned,” but that the Next Generation Air Dominance program will include a mix of both manned and unmanned platforms.

... news.usni.org ... https://news.usni.org/2021/03/30/navy-ngad-will-be-family-of-systems-super-hornet-replacement-likely-a-manned-fighter

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Sono rendering, alcuni già visti, che vanno presi con le molle e che lasciano solo intendere quanto detto altrove ieri: la sesta generazione americana dal punto di vista aerodinamico, propulsivo e della stealthness, oltre che di concezione in generale della guerra aerea, costituirà un decisivo passo avanti rispetto a quanto in volo ora.

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Una volta ritirato il Raptor ... lo NGAD sarà il cuore della Fighter Force dell'USAF ...

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The Air Force is preparing to unveil a new 30-year fighter force design that includes at least two all-new fighters, a much greater use of autonomous and unmanned aircraft, a new way of providing close air support, and a narrowing timeline for retiring aircraft such as the A-10, F-16, and F-22, said Lt. Gen. Clinton S. Hinote, deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration, and requirements.
Hinote said the F-22 will begin to phase out in about 2030 - the exact timeline will be situation-dependent - and the Next-Generation Air Dominance fighter will be needed soon to defeat a Chinese stealth aircraft and missile threat that is “closer than we think.”
In a May 13 interview with the editors of Air Force Magazine, Hinote said Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.’s revelation that the USAF is planning to reduce its fighter fleet from seven types to “four plus one” is the kickoff of a “transparency” campaign to explain choices to be unveiled in the fiscal 2022 budget submission.
Brown said the future fighter fleet will include the F-35, F-15EX, late-model F-16s, and the Next Generation Air Dominance, or NGAD family of systems; the “plus one” being the A-10. 
Brown did not mention the F-22, and “this was something you all rightly picked up on very quickly,” Hinote said.
The Air Force plans a “transition” from the F-22 to the NGAD, and “we felt like, now is a good time for us to be able to talk about how we’re going to bridge” between the two systems.

... airforcemag.com ... https://www.airforcemag.com/new-force-design-ngad-needed-soon-f-22-sunset-begins-in-2030/ ...

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NGAD ... il CSM dell'USAF afferma che sarà un caccia multiruolo ...

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The Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) system - the fighter that will succeed the F-22 - will have ground attack capability possibly for its own protection, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. told lawmakers June 16.
Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on the fiscal 2022 budget request, Brown said he wants the NGAD to have “multirole” capability, emphasizing that the aircraft’s primary role will be air dominance but with the ability to strike ground targets as well.
Compared to the F-22, Brown said the NGAD will have “increased weapons load [and] … increased range” necessary to operate at the great distances required in the Indo-Pacific theater.
The NGAD will have “some air-to-ground capability to ensure, one, that it can survive, but also to provide options for our air component commanders and for the Joint Force,” Brown said, suggesting that the NGAD will be able to shoot at air defense systems that threaten it.

... airforcemag.com ... https://www.airforcemag.com/ngad-multirole-fighter-f-35-block-4/ ...

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Ci mancherebbe non fosse multiruolo... L'F-22 era già troppo ritagliato per il ruolo aria-aria da non renderlo sufficientemente interessante in numeri maggiori, col risultato che con l'F-15E (e poi EX) si ritrovano scoperti nell'attacco al suolo in profondità in contesti molto...impegnativi dove il solo F-35 non ha il vantaggio delle dimensioni in termini di autonomia e carico bellico.

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Mi ha sempre interessato questa scelta strettamente aria aria. Figlio della guerra fredda e concepito per penetrare lo spazio aereo russo? All'epoca c'erano mig 29 su 27 e mig 31. In superiorità numerica quindi comprensibile il ruolo aria - aria prioritario con una certa autonomia, confidando che la componente terra aria russa non fosse un grosso rischio per un aereo stealth.  Siamo off topic mi rendo conto però la standardizzazione verso i multiruolo da un mondo di intercettori, bombardieri, etc puri è interessante e l'interruzione della produzione del f22, ha un senso.

Solo i cinesi, comprensibilmente per motivi di proiezione, marina debole, dimensioni, gioventù della industria, sono rimasti su un aereo parecchio specifico.
 

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Dal sito di AW&ST ... un'opinione ...

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Opinion: Key Questions About USAF’s NGAD Sixth-Gen Aircraft Program ...
Richard Aboulafia - August 19, 2021

uf33b_kenneth_mcnulty-us_air_force_promo

It is increasingly clear that the U.S. Air Force’s Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) sixth-generation combat aircraft program will be the next major military aircraft program. 
There are two big unknowns: 
Is there a flying aircraft, and who is the prime contractor? 
And there are five secondary questions that also should be asked about the program.
First, last September, then-Air Force acquisition chief Will Roper revealed the existence of a full-scale prototype combat jet, in flight testing and “breaking records.” 
This is purportedly part of NGAD, but given the evolving nature of the program - and given uncertainties about the maturity of this prototype - it isn’t clear how relevant this jet is to NGAD’s ultimate form.
But NGAD clearly is ramping up as a program, with $1.5 billion in R&D funding requested in fiscal 2022 (up from $902 million in fiscal 2021).
Second, we don’t know who built this prototype. 
In its second-quarter results, Lockheed Martin took a $0.61 charge per share related to a classified program, and in its first-quarter results the company attributed a $135 million sales increase to classified contracts. 
This month, the company opened a large new factory at its Skunk Works site. 
Since classified reconnaissance aircraft are built in small numbers and seldom require large, new facilities, this plant may be connected to a new fighter. 
But Boeing and Northrop Grumman are also likely competitors.

Beyond these uncertainties, there are five more questions about NGAD: 

1. What is the timing? 
Developing and integrating mission systems and other key components is a bigger challenge than building a test aircraft. 
There might be a long gap between flying a prototype and producing an operational weapon. 
Twelve years passed between the first flight of Lockheed Martin’s YF-22 and the first F-22 deliveries and almost 10 years elapsed between the X-35 and initial F-35 deliveries. 
Digitalization may speed this process, but there is no clear evidence of this. 
In fact, the pre-digital F-15 and F-16 saw just two and five years pass, respectively, between first flight and service entry. 

2. How many will be procured? 
Roper indicated that the service wanted a Digital Century Series approach, with relatively small procurement batches of multiple aircraft developed in succession. 
But the procurement number is dependent on the timing: If it takes a decade (and the usual tens of billions of dollars in nonrecurring funding) to produce an operational fighter, then buying small numbers would be incredibly inefficient. 
Also, as the saying goes, the enemy gets a vote here, too. 
If conflict with a peer adversary is deemed a short- or midterm risk, then focusing on the current production model makes a lot more sense than waiting years for the next thing or series of things. 

3. How joint is it? 
The Navy’s F/A-XX program would seem to be somewhat behind NGAD in definition and funding. 
But history indicates that there is little hope of a navalized NGAD aircraft meeting this requirement. 
The Joint Strike Fighter is more of an Air Force/Marine Corps fighter; the Navy refuses to budget for more than tiny numbers of F-35Cs. 
For the F-14, F-15, F-16, F/A-18 and F-22, “jointness” failed altogether. 
It has been half a century since a U.S. fighter program was truly joint, with the McDonnell F-4 - and the Air Force was not so enthusiastic about it. 

4. How global is it? 
The F-35 has more than a dozen foreign customers; the F-22 had none, for political and cost reasons. 
The F-15 might provide a good baseline for high-end fighter exports, if NGAD stays in production long enough to attract international interest - there are six international Eagle customers. 
One was Japan, which might also find NGAD coproduction attractive as an alternative to its indigenous F-3 stealth fighter program. 

5. What gets hurt when procurement starts? 
Ramping up NGAD procurement cash would inevitably affect U.S. Air Force F-35A and/or F-15EX funding. 
Since the latter is an older airframe, and since it is being procured at a much lower rate, NGAD could lead to F-15EX program termination. 
Also, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown recently stated that the F-22 will be retired, leaving the F-35A, F-15 and F-16 and, of course NGAD. 

In addition to these program questions, another great unknown concerns the new fighter’s capabilities. 
Specifically, what will deployment of this aircraft mean for the balance of power, particularly against China? 
Will NGAD’s manned-unmanned teaming capabilities redress the quantitative imbalance in the Western Pacific? 
The answer to this is years away, but it is crucial to the strategic future of the U.S.

The views expressed are not necessarily those of Aviation Week.

Contributing columnist Richard Aboulafia is vice president of analysis at Teal Group. 
He is based in Washington

 

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Parole, parole, parole ... 🎶🎶🎶

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Using new digital methods to design a future Air Force fighter costs more than the traditional approach, but subsequent iterations could be done faster and less expensively, senior Air Force officials said Sept. 22. 
They also cautioned that the “Digital Century Series” is not synonymous with the Next Generation Air Dominance program and that no decision has been made about whether to take the approach on an NGAD successor.
The results of the Air Force’s business case analysis of the Digital Century Series approach to combat aircraft design differs from that developed by the Pentagon’s Cost Analysis and Program Evaluation shop, top uniformed USAF acquisition official Lt. Gen. Duke Z. Richardson told reporters Sept. 22. 
The CAPE’s numbers were higher than the Air Force’s but were highly subjective anyway, he said, because assumptions play a central role in defining costs.
“The differences … are in assumptions about [operations and sustainment] costs, and O&S cost avoidance,” Richardson said. 
“Another one is in the area of O&S cost growth; in other words, how much you project … the sustainment costs [will be], including manpower. The third area would be the time period of analysis.” 
The results of any business case analysis are “really sensitive to those assumptions,” he added, and “the assumptions are hard to make; … where do you stop? A traditional program might be on a 30-year-plus cycle, whereas the Digital Century Series system might be on a 16-year cycle. So these are multiples of each other.”

... airforcemag.com ... https://www.airforcemag.com/air-force-focused-on-1st-ngad-as-digital-century-series-costs-more-to-design/ ...

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L'estrema necessità di mantenere una solida supremazia aerea ...

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The U.S. is in real peril of losing a potential war with China if the Air Force cannot shed obsolete gear and rapidly regain a solid advantage in control of the air, Air Combat Command’s Gen. Mark D. Kelly told attendees at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber conference.
“We have to focus our fighter force to the basic realities of a new threat environment,” Kelly said in his ASC21 speech. 
“And that requires the fighter force to change to be successful.” 
Kelly said the joint force “requires air superiority” and doesn’t know how to fight or function without it - so this mission area should get priority for resources.
Kelly explained the the “four-plus-one” concept for the future fighter force - an improved F-22, making a “hot handover” to the Next Generation Air Dominance circa 2030; the F-35 as the “cornerstone” of the fleet; the F-15E and F-15EX as “big weapon” carriers; F-16s to provide capacity, especially in lower-end conflicts; and the A-10 as the “plus one,” with a fleet of 218 airplanes for close air support that sunsets in the early 2030s.

... airforcemag.com ... https://www.airforcemag.com/war-with-china-will-end-badly-if-usaf-gives-up-air-supremacy/ ...

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Solo ad aprile sembrava che la supercazzola del Digital Century Series fosse tramontata e sostituita nelle discussioni (purtroppo non solo da bar) dalla scemenza del caccia di generazione 4,5 per sostituire l'F-16 ma...mai dire mai.

In un’epoca in cui in 5 anni si stenta a integrare su velivoli ipercollaudati tecnologie, che dovrebbero essere acquisite da anni, francamente le promesse di un tale cambio filosofico le vedo tutte da dimostrare. Un’inversione di tendenza rispetto a velivoli che impiegavano due decenni a raggiungere la maturità era indispensabile, ma un simile “strappo” non vorrei che sottovalutasse tutte le difficoltà insite nel fare qualcosa di nuovo.

Oggi in 5 anni a malapena si produce un dimostratore, ma per far funzionare tutto quello che serve in un velivolo da combattimento tante cose devono andare nel verso giusto e le figherie della digitalizzazione non riescono a prevedere tutto.

Di sicuro tenere il know how in costante esercizio è condizione indispensabile a evitare imprevisti e velocizzare lo sviluppo.

Staremo a vedere il passaggio dalla teoria alla pratica...

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NGAD ... massima priorità dell'Air Combat Command ...

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The Next-Generation Air Dominance Fighter is Air Combat Command’s top priority, because without it, the Air Force can’t provide the control of the air the whole military depends on to operate, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mark D. Kelly said. 
He also named a replacement for the E-3 AWACS, new weapons, and command and control improvements among the command’s top needs.
Speaking at a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual event, Kelly said NGAD is his No. 1 requirement. 
He described it as a sixth-generation air superiority system able to operate at long ranges - farther than would be encountered in the European theater. 
Kelly said NGAD is “designed to operate beyond a single spectral band of the RF [radio frequency] spectrum, to thrive in a multispectral environment,” and it also “senses” the battle space and “connects” the rest of the force, so “that I can put [it] in the adversary’s back yard.”
The NGAD is really a multi-service requirement because the other services are “not remotely - remotely - designed to operate without” control of the air, Kelly noted. 
“Everyone’s counting on the Air Force to provide that.”

... airforcemag.com ... https://www.airforcemag.com/kelly-air-combat-command-priorities/ ...

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La Marina USA ha fatto una rivelazione ...

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... the CVW of the 2030s is described as a complementary mix of F-35C Lightning II, F/A-18E/F Block III Super Hornet, and a next generation strike fighter dubbed F/A-XX.
The F/A-XX is the strike fighter component within the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) Family of Systems (FoS). 
The requirement for this aircraft has been around since 2008, with a formal Request for Information in 2012, to replace the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in the 2030s. 
Later, the F/A-XX was included in the NGAD program which, by the way, is a separate program from the identically named Air Force program. 
The Navy says that its “specific capabilities and technologies are under development, however analysis shows it must have longer range and greater speed, incorporate passive and active sensor technology, and possess the capability to employ the longer-range weapons programmed for the future”.
The NGAD FoS will include unmanned platforms with F/A-XX as the quarterback, exploiting the Manned/UnManned Teaming (MUM-T) concept to reduce risk to the manned aircraft, while simultaneously increasing capability, capacity, and survivability.

... theaviationist.com ... https://theaviationist.com/2021/11/01/the-u-s-navy-has-released-new-details-about-the-f-a-xx-next-generation-strike-fighter/ ...

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Regno Unito e Giappone si accordano allo scopo di realizzare un motore dimostratore in grado di essere installato sui rispettivi caccia di 6^ generazione ...

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Britain and Japan are joining forces in the development of an engine demonstrator capable of powering the separate sixth-generation fighters being pursued by both nations.
The two governments have signed a memorandum of cooperation enabling teaming to take place on the engine demonstrator and possibly other, as yet, unspecified areas of technology, the British Ministry of Defence said in an announcement (*) confirming the tie-up Dec 22.
The engine development work, led by IHI and Rolls-Royce, is formally scheduled to get underway early next year following a joint engine viability study which has been underway for a while. 
Japan’s defense ministry said efforts would commence in its next financial year, which begins on April 1, 2022.

... defensenews.com ... https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2021/12/22/britain-and-japan-join-forces-on-next-generation-fighter-engine/ ...

(*) ... gov.uk ... https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-and-japan-to-develop-future-fighter-jet-engine-demonstrator ...

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Da un noto ex-settimanale britannico ... emergono nuove informazioni ...

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US Air Force to advance stealthy successor for F-22 ...
By Garrett Reim - 23 December 2021

The US Air Force’s (USAF’s) Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter remains under wraps, but some clues about capabilities the service wants in the aircraft are surfacing.
The sixth-generation fighter aircraft (one full-scale flight demonstrator secretly flew for the first time in 2020) is expected to replace the service’s Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fleet, starting in the 2030s.
Whereas past generations of fighter aircraft relied upon speed and manoeuvrability to defeat foes, it seems the NGAD will lean heavily on stealth characteristics to hide from opponents and on computing power to outsmart them, according to comments from the USAF and likely development partners.
Disclosures point to a hyper-connected stealth aircraft that will use artificial intelligence programs to rapidly digest and make sense of multiple streams of sensor data – information that will help combat pilots beat their adversaries to the punch.
NGAD will be a multi-role combat aircraft, but air dominance will be its primary mission, General Charles Brown, USAF chief of staff, told the US House Armed Services Committee in June. 
He added that the service wants the aircraft to have an increased weapons load and increased range. 
Greater range would be useful flying across the vast areas of the Indo-Pacific region, Brown said. 
Greater weapons load would probably be needed in combat against China’s air force, which the Pentagon expects to have a numerical advantage.
Winning air battles will require more than a bigger arsenal of missiles. 
In order to eliminate China’s numerical advantage, each fighter will have to be able to repeatedly find enemy aircraft and fire quickly – again and again.
Lockheed, a leading contender to develop the sixth-generation fighter, says new digital technologies will give NGAD “omniscient situational awareness”. 
That is reminiscent of the “quarterback” role the USAF has given the Lockheed F-35 stealth fighter. 
That aircraft is increasingly valued by the service for its ability to use its sensors, software and connectivity to survey the battlefield.

BIG DATA ...

An all-knowing capability also fits into the USAF’s desire for an Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), a battlefield network that would allow pilots to make decisions faster using data gathered from around the combat theatre.
For example, ABMS might be used to pass intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information gathered by autonomous loyal wingman unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) back to the NGAD platform, which could then use artificial intelligence programs to make sense of it all. 
The USAF has described NGAD as being a “family of systems” with the manned fighter at its centre.
In October, the USAF awarded Kratos Defense & Security Solutions and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems each a contract to develop an “Off Board Sensing Station” UAV
Such a loyal wingman would probably fly in advance of NGAD, search for targets and threats using its sensors, such as radar and infrared search-and-track sensors, and then possibly act as a weapons launch platform.
Raytheon, a manufacturer of advanced radars, expects sensors on NGAD to be automatically “harmonised” to find targets. 
Some sensors, such as radar, might also be automatically turned off in certain situations to reduce the jet’s electronic signature to avoid detection, the company says.

ADVANCED ADVERSARIES ...

Interest in artificial intelligence partly comes from a belief that the future battlefield is going to be overwhelmingly chaotic and complex – challenging circumstances created by large numbers of sophisticated radars, electronic warfare systems, surface-to-air missiles, and fighter aircraft fielded by advanced adversaries such as China and Russia.
“It’s going to take a suite of sensors integrated together,” says Eric Ditmars, vice-president of secure sensor solutions, Raytheon Intelligence & Space. 
“There are environments where the radar performs phenomenally,” he says. 
“There are environments where the radar is jammed, where infrared search-and-track systems are phenomenal.”
Integrated systems must be able to respond to changing circumstances.
“The environments are getting so contested that you really have to have the ability to be more adaptive,” says Ditmars. 
“The intent is to allow that pilot to be able to be more flexible in the mission that they are executing, and not be as reliant upon the pre-planning that has been done.”
Being able to rapidly call upon the right sensors could make or break a mission, especially when unexpected threats pop up, he says. 
It is a concept that goes past the sensor fusion techniques employed aboard the F-35, Ditmars says.
Potential scenarios might be solved ahead of time by training artificial intelligence (AI) programs using computer simulations of combat, he says.
“That’s the great thing about artificial intelligence. You give it a set of defined criteria and it figures it out,” Ditmars says.
The concept has a precedent. 
Researchers with Air Combat Command recently developed the ARTUµ software, a machine learning program that used more than half a million computer simulations to train the radar on the Lockheed U-2 surveillance aircraft to find enemy missile launchers. 
In late 2020, the artificial intelligence program was demonstrated aboard a U-2 at Beale AFB in California.
“ARTUµ was responsible for sensor employment and tactical navigation, while the pilot flew the aircraft and co-ordinated with the AI on sensor operation,” explained the service. 
“Together, they flew a reconnaissance mission during a simulated missile strike. ARTUµ’s primary responsibility was finding enemy launchers while the pilot was on the lookout for threatening aircraft, both sharing the U-2’s radar.”

NEW TEAM ...

The USAF said the AI software was “easily transferable” to other systems, and that it planned to refine the technology.
“Putting AI safely in command of a US military system for the first time ushers in a new age of human-machine teaming and algorithmic competition,” said Will Roper, who was assistant secretary of the USAF for acquisition, technology and logistics at the time. 
“Failing to realise AI’s full potential will mean ceding decision advantage to our adversaries.”
In other words, asking a pilot to make sense of complex sensor data in the middle of a pitched battle might lose precious seconds to the enemy.
“We’re trying to take some of this workload off the pilot. They are human and they can only do so much,” Ditmars says. 
“As the systems get more and more complex, it becomes very challenging for them.”

 

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