“I would say that railgun is kind of the case study that would say ‘This is how innovation maybe shouldn‘t happen,‘” the chief of naval operations, Adm. John Richardson, the Atlantic Council. “It‘s been around, I think, for about 15 years, maybe 20. So ‘rapid’ doesn‘t come to mind when you’re talking about timeframes like that.”
The U.S. military wants to expand its use of artificial intelligence in warfare, but says it will take care to deploy the technology in accordance with the nation's values. The Pentagon outlined its first AI strategy in a report released Tuesday. The plan calls for accelerating the use of AI systems throughout the military, from intelligence-gathering operations to predicting maintenance problems in planes or ships. It urges the U.S. to advance such technology swiftly before other countries chip away at its technological advantage.
Unlike the United States, China can -- as an authoritarian regime -- dictate to the country’s research and development communities as well as industry what will filter into military applications. This civil-military fusion has enabled China to launch a series of what Defense Innovation Unit Managing Director Michael Brown called “so-called Manhattan projects” -- 16 of them in all -- “where they bring together government, business and academia to focus on making significant progress in a particular technology or industry sector.”
China has been developing Artificial Intelligence weaponry at a much higher rate than the U.S. and experts say it’s something that neither Silicon Valley nor The Pentagon should be turning their backs on. Reports suggest that the tech and governmental sectors of China have been working together in a “military-civil fusion” and according to a recent Financial Times report, the partnership has become a nightmare for western governments like the United States, which has mostly taken the opposite approach.
The plan -- laid out in the administration’s long-anticipated Missile Defense Review -- stops short of calling for the deployment of hypersonic interceptors and space-based lasers, controversial weapons that reportedly been under consideration. Instead, the review calls for spending more to develop technologies that could be used in these types of weapons.
The Navy is currently analyzing air frames, targeting systems, AI-enabled sensors, new weapons and engine technologies to engineer a new 6th-Generation fighter to fly alongside the F-35 and ultimately replace the F/A-18. The Navy program, called Next-Generation Air Dominance, has moved beyond a purely conceptual phase and begun exploration of prototype systems and airframes as it pursues a new, carrier-launched 6th-Gen fighter to emerge in 2030 and beyond, service officials explained.
The U.S. military has been modernizing the armed forces in preparation for a potentially new era of warfare around the corner. 2018 was certainly a year jam-packed with defense headlines as the defense industry became re-energized across all sectors and innovation to meet the requirements of U.S. forces was reinvigorated. So as we kick off this new year, which defense stories should Americans be keeping an eye on?
Facebook Inc. is among the technology companies leading the race to develop artificial intelligence. But Americans don’t trust it to do so responsibly, a survey from a U.K. think tank has found.
In November 2018, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), China’s biggest defense electronics company, unveiled a prototype radar that it claims can detect stealth aircraft in flight. The radar uses some of the exotic phenomena of quantum physics to help reveal planes’ locations. It’s just one of several quantum-inspired technologies that could change the face of warfare.
The U.S. Air Force’s planes are old--and getting older. The average Air Force plane is 28 years old, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That means hundreds, if not thousands, of Air Force pilots are flying planes built before they were born. Replacing huge numbers of aging aircraft with newer models could be very, very expensive--up to $26 billion annually by the mid-2030s.