Navy finds perfect wingman for aircraft carrier pilots – AI

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Move over, Maverick. AI software can land a plane on a carrier deck better than you.

More than 5,000 men and women staff each of America’s 11 aircraft carriers, but the U.S. Navy is counting on AI to help it fight China. AI will bring carrier planes for landings, fly unmanned tankers with fuel for fighter jets, and even analyze insect juice in the food chain.

Night landings on aircraft carriers are dangerous feats of combat aviation. Americans think of the “Top Gun” movies starring Tom Cruise as Maverick, an intrepid Navy pilot capable of landing a 32,000-pound weight. F/A-18EF Superhornet on a 90,000 ton aircraft carrier at night, in the rain, in the wind and in rough seas.


The Navy has now discovered that AI is a big help in getting planes on board. In real life, a form of AI called Precision Landing Mode has turned the art of aircraft carrier landing into a science.

The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford is stationed near Israel in the Mediterranean Sea. FILE: The Ford passes en route to the Oslofjord, in Drobak, Norway, May 24, 2023. (Terje Pedersen/NTB Scanpix via AP)

As you know, CVN-78, USS Gerald R. Ford, is in the Eastern Mediterranean to deter Iran (and others) during the Israeli security crisis in Gaza. Previously, the Ford was the first aircraft carrier to test AI for Precision Landing Mode on the Navy’s newest young pilots.

Although the new pilots have been thoroughly trained, the final step of making multiple landings on the aircraft carrier is exceptionally difficult. “You’ll see the white knuckles, the shaking knees, and you’ll be able to see the facial expression of someone who just landed on an aircraft carrier at night for the first time,” said Capt. Dan Catlin, commanding officer. of the Strike. Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106, told US Naval Institute News during the 2021 test.

According to Catlin, the final seconds of an aircraft carrier landing required pilots to make about 300 separate adjustments to the plane’s flight path. Motor power, angle of attack, position relative to centerline, you name it.

With the AI ​​in precision landing mode, everything was different. The number of adjustments made by pilots dropped to single digits. The pilots were much more confident, and the AI ​​they used “really created something that was supposed to be incredibly difficult, actually a bit fun,” Catlin concluded.

Of course, the Navy has a long history of investing in AI and automated parts of its landing systems. You can’t risk a $100 million fighter jet and pilot without confidence and lots of testing. However, the exciting advancement lies in the processing speed and algorithms to create large data models so that the AI ​​can cope with crosswinds, pitch decks and fine adjustments of engine power during aircraft carrier landings.

Moving forward, the Navy is adopting AI as a shipmate across the fleet. “If we have confidence in autonomy, then we can move toward true artificial intelligence and the future of the air wing,” said Rear Adm. Steven Tedford, who leads the development of unmanned programs and systems. pilot for the Navy at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. in Maryland.

The Navy’s large MQ-25 Stingray drone has already proven it can refuel other carrier aircraft and improve satellite communications and reconnaissance for the carrier strike group. After 2026, all air wings will use Stingray drones. That’s a lot of AI.

Other systems, like the Navy’s F-35 stealth fighters, bring even more AI. The key is “to use the equipment we have today, but digitally enhance it even further,” Lockheed Martin CEO Jim Taiclet explained at the Hudson Institute on October 4.

The FA-18 Hornet lands on the flight deck of the USS Ronald Reagan

A group of carriers has a powerful impact. Here, an F/A-18 Hornet lands on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in 2013. (US Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Charles D. Gaddis IV)

Pairing AI with human crews and commanders remains the preferred mode for military operations. But there is no doubt that senior officers can also rely on AI in the heat of battle. Generative AI could soon help commanders anticipate everything from the trajectories of enemy missile fire to the effects of airstrikes.


Imagine an AI tool that can model the football team’s potential defensive plays before the quarterback throws. Using AI, the Navy can stay ahead of enemy behavior during a major air and sea confrontation.

It’s you, China. The Pentagon said on October 17 that Chinese aircraft were aggressively intercepting US military aircraft throughout the Pacific. It seems that the debut of AI in the tactical management of combat air patrols and daily operations cannot come soon enough.

With the AI ​​in precision landing mode, everything was different. The number of adjustments made by pilots dropped to single digits. The pilots were much more confident, and the AI ​​they used “really created something that was supposed to be incredibly difficult, actually a bit fun,” Catlin concluded.

Don’t forget the sailors on the catering line and in the wardrooms. Last April, the Navy partnered with IBM to apply artificial intelligence to the food supply chain. IBM says organizations often use less than 10% of their supply chain data.


AI will help the Navy Supply Corps manage the flow of food, from ice cream to the famous “bug juice,” a fruity alternative to coffee and water often served aboard carriers . (Lime lime when I tasted it aboard the USS Nimitz in San Diego years ago.)

Yes, the US Navy will need every advantage to confront China in the Pacific. If it takes AI to circulate the bug juice, get fuel to hit the planes, and get the crews back aboard the carrier safely, I say full steam ahead.



Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button