The US Air Force teaches AI how to fight electronic warfare

The US Air Force teaches AI how to fight electronic warfare 4

The US Air Force teaches AI how to fight electronic warfare

The US Air Force is testing the use of AI to control aircraft, to respond to scenarios where the enemy jams GPS signals during high-intensity conflicts.

If the United States has a conflict with a major power in the future, GPS satellite systems and other modern navigation technologies will likely be the main target targeted by the opponent.

Military powers such as Russia and China have over the years developed weapons capable of destroying satellites in orbit, as well as being able to interfere and jam satellite signals with electronic warfare equipment.

Not being able to use GPS will be a big challenge for the US military, because this force possesses many types of weapons that are almost completely dependent on the above technology, especially in navigation and targeting tasks.

One of the countermeasures that the US Air Force is developing is to use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to navigate in environments where GPS signals are blocked.

US F-22 fighter releases flares while attending an air show in Florida on May 4.

Last year, the US Air Force tested using an AI program to control a C-17 transport based on the Earth’s magnetic field.

However, Mr. Floyd said that during the test, the AI program learned to recognize which signals to use to guide the plane on the right path.

The US’s interest in using AI for navigation instead of GPS shows Washington’s growing concern about the scenario of having to fight without satellite navigation in the future.

The US has learned many lessons from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, where both sides are actively using electronic warfare equipment and GPS signal spoofing (techniques to deceive the enemy about one’s location).

US Deputy Secretary of Defense in charge of procurement Bill LaPlante admitted on April 25 that a long-range ammunition that Washington provided to Ukraine had become `useless` against Russian electronic warfare systems.

In addition, a series of modern GPS-guided weapons that the US provided to Ukraine such as JDAM bombs, Excalibur artillery shells and HIMARS rockets also continuously missed their targets due to Russian interference.

The US Air Force teaches AI how to fight electronic warfare

Russian Pole-21 jamming complex in photo posted in April 2019.

The Pentagon has long researched solutions to counteract electronic warfare equipment, such as developing detectors that are resistant to interference, as well as looking for methods that do not rely on GPS positioning to identify

In August 2023, a US defense official said the army was `reinvesting in rebuilding tactical electronic warfare capabilities after being largely neglected for the past 20 years`, adding that the

AI is a potential solution and using it as a navigation method for the air force is not the US military’s only project with this technology.

Washington did not release the results of the test for security reasons, but an official said the AI program used had `progressed well and faster than expected`.

On May 2, US Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall sat on an AI-controlled version of the F-16 fighter, named Vista, to fly next to a piloted F-16 for about an hour.

The US Air Force teaches AI how to fight electronic warfare

The US Secretary tested the unmanned F-16 variant

Secretary Kendall sat on an F-16 controlled by AI on May 2.

After completing the journey, Mr. Kendall affirmed that he had experienced enough to trust the AI to decide to fire weapons in the event of a conflict.

However, integrating AI into military technology also brings many questions.

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