Artificial Intelligence

DARPA to outfit F-16D jet fighter with artificial intelligence (AI) to boost trust in AI as a human partner

Industry Reports
March 11, 2022
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ACE is applying AI to aircraft dogfighting in realistic experiments and is developing ways to measure human trust in combat autonomy performance.

DARPA to outfit F-16D jet fighter with artificial intelligence (AI) to boost trust in AI as a human partner

ARLINGTON, Va. – U.S. military researchers are moving forward on a project that relies heavily on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine autonomy in complex air combat maneuvering that involves manned aircraft and combat unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Officials of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., have issued a solicitation (HR001122S0015) for the Air Combat Evolution (ACE) Full-Scale Aircraft TA-4 project, which seeks to increase trust in combat autonomy using human-machine collaboration in aircraft dogfighting.

After a successful first phase, the ACE program has entered its second phase. This solicitation asks industry for proposals to convert existing F-16 aircraft into human-in-the-loop, safety-sandboxed testbed aircraft to support autonomy development and experimentation.

The solicitation involves technology areas that call for additional aircraft hardware and additional aircraft mission systems software integration to support autonomous within-visual-range maneuvering and trust research in the ACE program.

Related: PhysicsAI to develop artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms for high-performance unmanned combat aircraft

The additional aircraft options will support ACE as well as a wider range of autonomy development needs. The ACE project also will develop enabling technologies to enhance collaboration among humans and unmanned combat aircraft in a variety of combat scenarios.

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