Lockheed Martin Demonstrates AI-Enabled Air-to-Air Tactical Intercepts

Lockheed Martin’s advanced projects division has demonstrated how artificial intelligence (AI) could aid air-to-air intercepts in a tactical environment.

In a press release, Skunk Works said its AI agent was integrated into an L-29 Delfin aircraft to directly control the jet and execute tactical exercises.

With the AI agent managing the aircraft’s heading, speed, and altitude, the Delfin was able to go against a virtual adversary in both offensive and defensive postures.

According to the company, eight test cases were conducted per flight to evaluate the agent’s performance in standard head-to-head fights, off-aspect encounters, missile support, and missile defeat.

“The team was encouraged to see clean sim-to-real transfer of learned behaviors and that the AI agent appeared intentional and decisive in its actions,” Skunk Works stated.

The result of the demonstration is expected to solidify the potential of AI in real-world combat scenarios.

Part of Broader Initiative

Skunk Works said the recent flight demonstration was part of a broader initiative to rapidly develop and test AI-driven autonomy for air-to-air missions.

It also explained that the live flights are crucial in evaluating the company’s ability to quickly develop and test operationally-relevant AI capabilities.

“It’s thrilling to see the separate components successfully integrate on the L-29 to demonstrate new capabilities. The complete system performed even better in live flight than in simulation,” Iowa Technology Institute (ITI) professor Tom Schnell said. ITI served as a partner institution for the demonstration.

Skunk Works plans to conduct more flight tests this year involving additional aircraft and air battle scenarios.

Prior to the recent demonstration, the US Air Force tested an AI-operated F-16 fighter aircraft with Secretary Frank Kendall on board.

Related Articles

Back to top button