Sponsored by Spectra Group
15 Feb 23. US Department of Defense and Intelligence Agencies Trust Appian with Mission-Critical Platform Transformation. Platform to accelerate mission attainment through process automation, low-code development and packaged solutions. This includes numerous Appian deployments across all four branches of the Department of Defense, and Intelligence agencies. Appian enables rapid IT modernization, helping create mission-centric agencies that operate at maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
Large-scale, multi-platform and transformational process automation through the Appian Data Fabric has gained prominence in military agencies. In a recent contract, an agency selected Appian, in partnership with BigBear.AI and Palantir Technologies, to implement a single Global Force Information Management (GFIM) system. This system is designed to be an intelligent platform providing a holistic view of the agency’s global force structure. Appian was also recently selected by two additional agencies for similar case management deployments integrating people, processes, and data in mission-centric workflows and applications.
The Appian Government Acquisition Management (GAM) suite is a set of pre-built solutions that enable government organizations to make procurement decisions with confidence and clarity. Appian is the basis for the US Air Force CON-IT acquisition system. The system standardizes acquisition contract writing across the organization, drives efficiency for the acquisition and contracting communities, reduces costs, and provides a platform to make functionality enhancements and statutory changes faster. This system not only saved time and manual efforts, but has become a standard for their contract writing systems.
The Appian GAM suite is designed for each phase of the acquisition lifecycle. From gathering requirements to contract closeouts, Appian provides solutions tailored to challenges unique to government agencies. From the successful implementation of the DoD contract writing system years ago, to an acquisition system that is now the largest and most comprehensive BPM-based acquisition management solution in the United States Federal Government, the GAM suite will continue to serve agencies and evolve to support their growth.
Looking forward, organizations need to be empowered to understand their systems, data, and processes, to prepare for potential uncertainties. At the Appian Government 2022 conference, Appian CEO Matt Calkins commented on what organizations can expect.
“We are in a time of economic turbulence, and if we are met with an upcoming recession, like many are predicting, we’re going to see the same symptoms we see in any recession,” said Calkins. “We’re all going to be asked to do a little more with a little less. The demands will be higher, and the resources will be lower.”
To learn more about how Appian supports DoD agencies, read our blog, System and Process Modernization Gains Momentum at US Defense and Intelligence Agencies. For more information and to get started today, visit appian.com/government. (Source: PR Newswire)
15 Feb 23. DoD CIO Issues DoD Manual 8140. On February 15, 2023, the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer (DoD CIO), Honorable John Sherman, issued DoD Manual (DoDM) 8140.03 Cyberspace Workforce Qualification & Management Program, the third issuance of the DoD 8140 policy series.
“ provides a targeted, role-based approach to identify, develop, and qualify cyber personnel by leveraging the DoD Cyber Workforce Framework (DCWF),” said John Sherman, DoD CIO, during his April 2021 testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. “The will require workforce members to demonstrate a foundational understanding at the work role level while also addressing personnel capability and continuous professional development at the work role level. Through these mechanisms, we will be able to track and manage cyber workforce capabilities across the DoD enterprise.”
The Cyber Workforce Qualification Program modernizes DoD talent management, allowing for more targeted and flexible approaches within the cyber human capital lifecycle.
The DoD 8140 Manual replaces the DoD 8570 Manual, “Information Assurance Workforce Improvement Program,” which focused solely on qualifying a section of the cybersecurity workforce centered on information assurance and computer network defense professionals using a narrow set of requirements. With the implementation of the DoDM 8140.03, DoD Components will have a broad set of options to manage and achieve a qualified cyber workforce in the areas of information technology, cybersecurity, cyber effects, cyber intelligence, and cyber enablers.
“The 8140 policy series unifies cyber workforce development efforts under a common umbrella and facilitates greater mobility across population types,” said Patrick Johnson, Director, Workforce Innovation Directorate. “The manual will guide the Department’s ability to verify and advance capabilities for all 225,000 DoD cyber workforce civilians, military personnel, and contractors. Together, the upcoming DoD Cyber Workforce Strategy and DoD 8140 will enable the DoD to develop and deploy an agile, capable, and ready cyber workforce.”
More information about the DoD 8140 policy series, recently published manual, and other DoD CIO issuance can be found on the DoD CIO website at https://dodcio.defense.gov/Cyber-Workforce/. (Source: US DoD)
14 Feb 23. Dutch host first summit on ‘responsible’ use of AI in the military.
- U.S., China among 50 nations attending first military AI summit
- Not clear whether any common statement will result
- Netherlands, South Korea are co-hosts
- Summit comes amid war in Ukraine, renewed interest in AI
Delegations from both the United States and China are set to attend a summit on the “responsible” use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the military this week in the Netherlands, the first of its kind.
Though it is not clear the 50 countries attending will agree to endorse even a weak statement of principles being drafted by the Netherlands and co-host South Korea, the conference comes as interest in AI more broadly is at all-time highs thanks to the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT program two months ago.
Organizers did not invite the Russian Federation because of the conflict in Ukraine, which will be a major topic of discussion at the summit, which runs from Feb. 15 to 16 in The Hague.
“This is an idea for which the time has come,” Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra told members of the foreign press in the run-up to the event. “We’re taking the first step in articulating and working toward what responsible use of AI in the military will be.”
The event may be an early step toward someday developing an international arms treaty on AI, though that is seen as far off.
Leading nations have so far been reluctant to agree any limitations on its use, for fear doing so might put them at a disadvantage.
Some 2,000 people including experts and academics are attending a conference alongside the summit, with discussion topics including killer drones and slaughter bots.
The U.S. Department of Defense will discuss where it sees potential for international cooperation at a presentation on Thursday.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands referred to a position paper in which China underlined the need to avoid “strategic miscalculations” with AI and to ensure it does not accidentally escalate a conflict.
U.N. countries that belong to the 1983 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) have been discussing possible limitations on lethal autonomous weapons systems – which can kill without human intervention – since 2014.
Hoekstra said the summit will not replace that debate but will look at other aspects of military AI.
Examples include definition of terms, how AI could safely be used to accelerate decision-making in a military context, and how it could be used to identify legitimate targets.
“We are moving into a field that we do not know, for which we do not have guidelines, rules, frameworks, or agreements. But we will need them sooner rather than later,” Hoekstra said. (Source: Reuters)
14 Feb 23. CSignum Ltd., the global leader in wireless underwater communications, asset digitization, and actionable insights for ocean and freshwater industries, today announced that the CSignum HydroFi Modem™ will become commercially available in early Q2 of this year. The low-frequency HydroFi Modem, the first and only reliable point-to-point wireless radio communications system that enables the transmission of data through the water-air boundary, is currently undergoing successful trials for three use cases: AUV and ASV data recovery, ship hull networking, and real-time ADCP data backhaul.
CSignum has successfully transmitted real-time data 28-30 meters from underwater modems to topside receivers connecting HydroFi technology to industry standard sondes, ADCPs and dataloggers. The HydroFi Modem is complementary to and overcomes the limitations of acoustic, optical and cabled data transmissions to provide the monitoring and navigational platform and solutions that digitize and scale IoT subsea devices for underwater industries encouraging greater sustainability, increased performance, and preparedness for unforeseen events.
AUV/ASV Data Recovery
HydroFi has also been used in an industrial asset integrity initiative underway at HESS for monitoring, inspecting, and repairing assets using autonomous vehicles in the oil and gas sector, a project that also has promising potential for environmental monitoring. HESS and Ocean Aero (Stand A50) have successfully completed initial trials in which a HydroFi Modem deployed on a Triton AUV sent and received information from underwater sensors positioned either on the sea floor or on submerged buoys. The companies are currently exploring how sensors could be further utilized to monitor overall water quality parameters in the future — from dissolved oxygen levels to turbidity to ocean temperatures. Initial trials have proven the industrial use case workable whether the transmitting modem and receivers are connecting with vehicles underwater, at the surface or in the air.
“The ability to deliver underwater communications utilizing the HydroFi Modem unlocks exciting opportunities to expand Hess autonomous operations,” said Keith Blystone, Chief of Staff at Ocean Aero. “By autonomously collecting and communicating subsurface data wirelessly with the TRITON, we can speed up information gathering for Hess—and that means faster decision making.”
Ship Hull Networking
Working with partners and the HydroFi Modem, CSignum has successfully provided access to real-time wireless data transmissions from the keel of Her Majesty’s Yacht (HMY) Britannia, which was decommissioned in 1997 and is now moored in Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh, to topside receivers on multiple decks without the expense and difficulty of fitting cables through the hull to monitor the environment around and under the ship and the ship’s condition. Prior to the successful trial, marine vessel operators have had no way to conduct inspections or to “see” what is happening below the waterline of their ships without dive crews, underwater vehicles or bringing vessels into drydock for routine maintenance – an inefficient, expensive and potentially dangerous process. CSignum and its partners are currently evaluating other commercial use cases for underwater-to-air deck use cases in the under-hull domain.
Real-Time ADCP Data Backhaul
Working with a recognized leader in the field of water quality, CSignum is trialing a simplified system using the HydroFi Modem that eliminates the need for a cabled link (which can snag and fail due to repeated wave motion stresses) to an ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler). In the solution, which is deployed in the Baltic Sea, data are communicated wirelessly for a range of 25 meters from an ADCP modem on the seabed to a second modem with datalogger on a surface vehicle or buoy. The system, which transmits data every five minutes, is planned to be expanded to allow the transmission of corrosion, strain, flow, motion, pressure, pH, sea levels, pollution, climate change and temperature data from seabed to air. This solution is ideal for environmental monitoring and wireless deployment in turbid adverse conditions such as where fresh water and sea water collide, or out in shipping channels where buoys are tough to deploy.
“We are thrilled with the progress we have made in just the last year to bring our patented HydroFi Modem to market and appreciate the partnerships we have with Hess, Ocean Aero, and others, so our solutions are ready for these use cases and others yet to be imagined,” said Chris Brooks, CEO at CSignum.” “Our ongoing work with sensor manufacturers to ensure sensors, sondes and ADCPs can connect seamlessly with HydroFi technology means we can expect to play a central role in unlocking data collection from below the surface of our oceans, lakes and rivers – providing end-to-end reliable and standardized connections in real time for all subsea IoT devices.”
The CSignum HydroFi Monitor version 1.0 is available for commercial sale in Q2 of calendar year 2023. To receive additional information about the product or to see a demonstration or initiate a trial, please go to https://www.csignum.com/downloads/
About CSignum Ltd
CSignum is the only wireless communications provider that enables the first automatic and reliable transmission of data through and across the water-air boundary, water column, seabed and subsea structures using HydroFi technology. Our patented communication, monitoring and navigational platform and solutions help aquaculture, freshwater, ocean observing, offshore wind, and oil and gas industries automate and reliably transmit data as they digitally transform and scale remote communications systems for greater sustainability, increased performance, and preparedness for unforeseen events.
CSignum was founded in 2020 to engineer a smarter planet by optimizing ocean and freshwater health for the sustainable use by all. The company is headquartered in Bathgate, Scotland.
14 Feb 23. BAE Systems Digital Intelligence is partnering with the Home Office to develop data analysis technology that will help protect the UK’s border and simplify processes for traders and travellers.
The three-year contract, worth £38m, will enable Border Force and related agencies to manage, in real time, the vast amounts of data relating to the 300 million passenger journeys and 385m tonnes of freight that enter the UK every year. The amount of information held across the Home Office, wider government and industry is increasing rapidly and understanding these large datasets quickly is critical for identifying risks to national security.
Through the development of advanced risk analytics services with the Home Office, also known as ‘Cerberus’, BAE Systems Digital Intelligence will enable the Border Force and related agencies to streamline and augment the process of real-time threat detection and intervention. The capabilities will also enable the government to securely connect and analyse data over a longer period to gain a better understanding of the bigger picture and macro trends, helping to inform longer term strategy. This will bolster the government’s vision of creating efficient and secure experiences for visitors and traders crossing the border.
The partnership will provide those working at the border – and beyond – with clear, actionable and secure intelligence to allow them to make informed and timely decisions about potential risks and identify potential criminal activity.
Dave Armstrong, Group Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Digital Intelligence said: “Our partnership with the Home Office will provide Border Force officers with accurate information upfront, speeding up processes and allowing them to focus on making critical decisions. This contract builds on work we’ve been doing with the Home Office for a number of years, which has enabled the Border Force to identify interventions and prevent illegal materials from entering the UK.”
Dominic Gallard, Director of Home Office Intelligence said: “Technology sits at the heart of operations at the UK border. Our partnership with BAE Systems enables a more data-driven approach and provides our teams with high-quality information to support operational decisions. This helps us keep the UK safe by identifying high threat movements of goods and people and interdicting them. It also speeds the progress of low threat goods and people, thus unlocking efficiencies for Border Force and enabling UK Prosperity and Flow.”
14 Feb 23. DEADLINE ALERT: Call For Proposals: Quantum Research Network.
The Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) Quantum Research Network (QRN), under the Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF), is seeking submissions in the area of Quantum-Enhanced Communications (QEC).
Building upon the success of previous rounds of QRN investment, and identifying new partnering opportunities, proposals are welcome from industry, academia and Government-funded organisations in the field.
Proposal concepts must be applicable to one or more of the following broad focus areas:
- Quantum-secured communication
- Quantum time transfer
- Quantum memories and repeaters
- Free-space Quantum communications
- Quantum-enabled RF communications
- Quantum-enhanced classical communications.
While there is no budget maximum for proposals, it is expected that most projects will be between $200–$800,000 and last 1-3 years in duration.
Submissions close 4pm (AEDT) on February 20, 2023. (Source: Rumour Control)
13 Feb 23. US Navy teams with Qualcomm to research 5G, artificial intelligence. The Naval Postgraduate School and wireless specialist Qualcomm Technologies inked a cooperative research agreement to explore 5G, artificial intelligence and cloud computing, some of the U.S. Defense Department’s most pressing priorities.
The collaboration, announced Feb. 13, aims to inform the digital pursuits of the Navy and Marine Corps, while also engaging school faculty and students with some of the private sector’s leading scientists and engineers.
“The core of warfighter development at NPS is preparing leaders to solve complex problems,” the school’s president, retired Vice Adm. Ann Rondeau, said in a statement. “This cooperative effort between NPS and Qualcomm Technologies is a great opportunity for our warrior-scholar students and defense-expert faculty to experiment with the latest 5G-enabled technologies and collaboratively explore innovative solutions to the issues faced by our Navy and Marine Corps.”
The partnership is facilitated by what’s known as a cooperative research and development agreement, or CRADA, which allows the U.S. government to engage nonfederal entities. Qualcomm is the latest of the school’s industry partners; in May, the Navy cut a deal with Microsoft to see its newest tools before they hit the market.
Focus areas of the newly announced deal reflect the military’s ambitions to spend billions of dollars on seamless connectivity and computer augmented decision-making. The spending comes as the U.S. shifts its gaze away from the Middle East, after years of counterinsurgency campaigns, and toward technologically savvy China and Russia.
At least one Navy official has in the last year described 5G as a “great enabler” that is “more, better, faster.” Fifth-generation wireless technology is expected to provide greater speeds and bandwidth, potentially improving logistics ashore and networking at sea.
Service officials are also leaning into artificial intelligence and autonomy — perhaps best exemplified by Task Force 59, which in December concluded a three-week event dedicated to unmanned systems in Bahrain.
The Navy is “creating a culture that nurtures innovation and drives our competitive advantage,” according to the service’s chief information officer, Aaron Weis. The NPS-Qualcomm partnership is “another step in the right direction,” he added, and “will identify promising emerging commercial technologies so we can rapidly adopt them for full-scale implementation.”
Terms of the joint research deal also include the establishment of an innovation lab at the Naval Postgraduate School campus in Monterey, California.
Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro in December teased the creation of another innovation center, concentrating “on the truly transformational technology that we need, not just two years, five years down the road, but 10, 15 years down the road.”
Initial areas of interest, Del Toro said at the time, included AI and machine learning. (Source: Defense News)
13 Feb 23. Northrop Grumman Connects Distributed Platforms Across Domains. Multi-platform demonstration showcased interoperability among F-35, MQ-4C Triton, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and naval ships. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) successfully demonstrated its gateway technology in a flight test that proved the ability to connect airborne platforms with naval assets. The first-of-its-kind demonstration was conducted with Naval Air Systems Command, Office of Naval Research, Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific and BAE Systems.
“Our gateways provide an resilient solution needed to enable information advantage for our customers,” said Ben Davies, vice president and general manager, network information solutions, Northrop Grumman. “This powerful combination expands the mission sets of maritime platforms to deliver a seamlessly connected fleet – a critical step as the U.S. Navy achieves its naval operational architecture to enable distributed maritime operations.”
Equipped on Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton Flying Test Bed, the airborne gateway shared fifth-generation sensor data to ground-based simulators that represented an F-35, an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, U.S. Navy Aegis class destroyers and carrier strike groups. The gateway integrated with Triton’s radar and artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to significantly enhance situational awareness across previously disconnected platforms. The addition of the gateway on Triton expands data sharing and will improve the warfighter’s ability to stay ahead of the adversary and make decisions faster across a vast and diverse environment.
“Triton’s altitude, persistence, and robust communication links make it an ideal candidate to host the Gateway system,” said Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager, global surveillance, Northrop Grumman. “This demonstration highlighted gateway technology enhancements to Triton that would enable information dominance across distributed maritime assets; including access to the F-35’s robust sensor suite and the E-2D’s battle management capabilities.”
12 Feb 23. Elbit Systems Delivers Its 600,000 Operational Tactical Radio. Elbit Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ:ESLT and TASE: ESLT) (“Elbit Systems” or the “Company”) has delivered its 600,000th radio to an operational customer. This E-LynX Software Defined Radio (SDR) was delivered to the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) as part of the Tactical Ground Radio (TGR) program. For more than 55 years, Elbit Systems has been focused on developing and manufacturing state-of-the-art secured army-wide networked communication technologies for airborne, naval and land forces across a portfolio of various HF, VHF, UHF, Microwave and SATCOM systems, covering the entire spectrum.
The 600,000th radio, delivered to the Swedish Armed Forces, is a fifth-generation tactical V/UHF SDR from the E-LynX family that provides advanced and secure communication capabilities for the modern battlefield. It offers immediate and fast communication, the ability to transmit voice, data and video simultaneously over all terrain, and supports the innovative and multi-domain digitization systems.
Haim Delmar, General Manager of Elbit System C4I & Cyber: “The delivery of the 600,000th operational radio is a unique and exciting milestone that highlights Elbit Systems’ position as a global market leader and as an advanced technological communication and radio power-house for more than 55 years.”
Spectra Group Plc
Spectra Group (UK) Ltd, internationally renowned award-winning information security and communications specialist with a proven record of accomplishment.
Spectra is a dynamic, agile and security-accredited organisation that offers secure Hosted and Managed Solutions and Cyber Advisory Services with a track record of delivering on time, to spec and on budget.
With over 15 years of experience in delivering solutions for governments around the globe, elite militaries and private enterprises of all sizes, Spectra’s platinum and gold-level partnerships with third-party vendors ensure the supply of best value leading-edge technology.
Spectra was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation) in 2019 for SlingShot.
In November 2017, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd announced its listing as a Top 100 Government SME Supplier by the UK Crown Commercial Services.
Spectra’s CEO, Simon Davies, was awarded 2017 Businessman of the Year by Battlespace magazine.
Founded in 2002, the Company is based in Hereford, UK and holds ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001:2013 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.
TRAINING AND SIMULATION UPDATE
16 Feb 23. MASS, the global technology and training support company, has supported the UK Joint Force Air Component Headquarters (JFAC HQ) Exercise Titanium Falcon 22 (Ex TF22) at RAF High Wycombe. Taking place between September and October 2022, the exercise prepared JFAC HQ staff for integrated multinational joint task force missions.
Building on the previous TF21 exercise, and based on a fictious scenario, Ex TF22 was tailored to the HQ’s training objectives and focused on the operational level of Air C2.
Ex TF22 was broken down into specific JFAC division-level training, covering the key stages of Air Command and Control planning. This culminated in a week of operationally focused live HQ training during the final execution phase.
Steve Townsend, Head of Training Support at MASS said, “Today’s dynamic defence environment means that training, particularly for large scale collaborative missions, has never been more important for a successful mission outcome.
“The smooth running and positive feedback from JFAC HQ on the success of the exercise is a clear demonstration of MASS’ ability to develop, organise and execute large scale training programmes for the military. The effectiveness of integrated multinational joint task force missions is crucial and through simulation-based exercises experience can be gained and lessons learned in preparation for potential operations.”
For the exercise, MASS provided an experienced exercise director and staff who supported the core JFAC exercise team during the coordination and management of the event, including scenario and master event list development.
MASS also supplied mentors for each phase of the exercise, as well as a comprehensive simulation system – the US Marine Corps-developed Marine Air Ground Tactical Warfare Simulation (MTWS) – which allowed for accurate simulation including simulated opposition. This ensured a realistic and scalable representation of joint operations, and exercise control with a 360-degree view that allows accurate representation across all environments.
The exercise was also supported by partner nations, which provided valuable insights into the benefits of coalition operations, while land and maritime staff provided vital cross-component interfaces as part of the Joint Force.
15 Feb 23. RAF opens new synthetic training system at RAF Waddington.
The system will link synthetic training devices to a central hub, allowing multi-domain operators to train together. The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has announced the opening of a new distributed synthetic multi-domain integration training system, referred to as Gladiator.
The system was opened by RAF air staff chief air marshal Sir Mike Wigston.
Gladiator will be operated from the new purpose-built facility, Air Battlespace Training Centre, at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, UK.
It has been designed to link different synthetic training devices or simulators to a central hub that can allow operators from various domains and force elements, including land, air, water, cyber and space, to train together in a safe and secure environment.
Wigston said: “Gladiator will enable our forces to trial, test, and practise their tactics in a secure environment, linked across all operational domains.”
The system will address a variety of limitations such as cost, airspace constraints, environmental considerations and operational security, which impact the British forces’ ability to complete the required training in live scenarios.
Overcoming all the constraints, Gladiator will protect the highly classified information and connect all the simulators across the UK and beyond.
According to the service, the new system will not replace live-flying events and will rather allow forces to enhance each training activity to be performed in the most effective conditions.
This system has initially been integrated with Typhoon fighter jets, F-35 Lightning II, RC-135 Rivet Joint and Joint Fires Synthetic Trainer.
Additional platforms are expected to be integrated into aircraft in ‘due course’.
RAF air staff combat assistant chief air commodore Ian Townsend said: “Gladiator will support sustainability initiatives by helping to reduce the environmental footprint of collective training. It will allow for more complex training to occur in a structured setting and reduce the cost of carrying out real-life training while helping to reduce carbon emissions.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
13 Feb 23. VISTA X-62 Advancing Autonomy and Changing the Face of Air Power. The Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) VISTA X-62A, a one-of-a-kind training aircraft, was flown by an artificial intelligence agent for more than 17 hours recently, representing the first time AI engaged on a tactical aircraft.
VISTA, short for Variable In-flight Simulation Test Aircraft, is changing the face of air power at the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School (USAF TPS) at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
VISTA is a one-of-a-kind training airplane developed by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® in collaboration with Calspan Corporation for the USAF TPS. Built on open systems architecture, VISTA is fitted with software that allows it to mimic the performance characteristics of other aircraft.
“VISTA will allow us to parallelize the development and test of cutting-edge artificial intelligence techniques with new uncrewed vehicle designs,” said Dr. M. Christopher Cotting, U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School director of research. “This approach, combined with focused testing on new vehicle systems as they are produced, will rapidly mature autonomy for uncrewed platforms and allow us to deliver tactically relevant capability to our warfighter.”
Recent upgrades by the U.S. Air Force include an updated VISTA Simulation System (VSS) provided by Calspan, and Lockheed Martin’s Model Following Algorithm (MFA), and System for Autonomous Control of the Simulation (SACS). The SACS and MFA systems integrated together provide new capabilities to the VISTA so it can be used to conduct the most advanced flight test experiments emphasizing autonomy and AI.
The 17-plus hour flight by an AI agent took place as part of a series of tests in December.
VISTA is a modified F-16D Block 30 Peace Marble Il aircraft upgraded with Block 40 avionics. Previously designated NF-16D, in June 2021 VISTA was recognized by the U.S. Air Force and deemed a national asset with a formal redesignation to VISTA X-62A.
This new mission system capability with VSS, MFA and SACS emphasize advancing autonomous aircraft algorithm development and integration. At the heart of SACS system is the Skunk Works Enterprise-wide Open Systems Architecture (E-OSA) which powers the Enterprise Mission Computer version 2 (EMC2) or “Einstein Box.”
Additional SACS components include integration of advanced sensors, a Multi-Level Security solution, and a set of Getac tablet displays in both cockpits. These components enhance VISTA’s capabilities while maintaining its rapid-prototyping advantage, specifically allowing for quick software changes to increase the frequency of flight test flights and accelerating the pace of AI and autonomy development to meet urgent national security needs.
For decades, Lockheed Martin has been applying and deploying trusted AI technologies to help its customers maximize performance, safety, and situational awareness across all domains. Lockheed Martin’s implementations keep people in control while enabling them to be safer, more effective and better able to focus on higher-level tasks by empowering them to make more-informed decisions quickly.
VISTA will continue to serve an integral role in the rapid development of AI and autonomy capabilities for U.S. Air Force. It is currently undergoing a series of routine inspections. Flights will resume at Edwards Air Force Base throughout 2023.