Military Embedded Systems

AI technology development for combat wins DARPA contract

News

July 08, 2020

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

AI technology development for combat wins DARPA contract
Graphic courtesy DARPA

BUFFALO, N.Y. Aviation research firm Calspan has won a four-year, $14.1 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop full-scale air combat experimentation infrastructure for its Air Combat Evolution (ACE) program.  

Under the terms of the contract, Calspan Flight Research will modify up to four Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros jet trainers with Calspan’s proprietary autonomous fly-by-wire flight control system technology to implement and demonstrate advanced human-machine interface and AI algorithms.  

Flight tests and demonstrations will be conducted from the Calspan Flight Research Facility (Niagara Falls, New York) and flown in the Misty Military Operating Area (MOA) over nearby Lake Ontario.

According to DARPA, the focus of the ACE program is to develop and measure human trust in artificial intelligence (AI); Calspan officials state that the technologies developed within the ACE program will ultimately enable future pilots to securely offload some high-workload tactical tasks -- like visual air-to-air engagements -- so that the pilots may focus more intently on managing the larger battlespace.

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