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Germany incorporates artificial intelligence into FCAS fighter jet

In this post:

  • Germany partners with HIS consortium for AI-backed FCAS fighter jet.
  • Secure cloud infrastructure key to Germany’s AI advancements.
  • FCAS program represents Germany’s commitment to next-gen defense.

Germany’s commitment to technological innovation has taken a significant stride as a consortium comprised of Helsing and Rohde & Schwarz secures the task of delivering an artificial intelligence (AI) backbone for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) sixth-generation fighter jet. Selected by the German BAAINBw defence procurement agency, this venture underscores the growing integration of AI within advanced military technology.

Unveiling the consortium’s selection

In a move that exemplifies the convergence of cutting-edge technology and national defense, Germany’s Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) has enlisted the HIS consortium, comprising Helsing, Schönhofer Sales and Engineering (SSE) (a subsidiary of Rohde & Schwarz), and IBM Deutschland. Their mission is to provide the AI infrastructure that will propel the FCAS fighter jet into the realm of next-generation capabilities.

A timely contract and collaborative endeavor

On the 7th of August, BAAINBw finalized a contract with the HIS consortium to implement the AI software platform immediately. This crucial development is positioned within the framework of the Next Generation Weapon System National Research and Technology project. As Germany embarks on this endeavor, it parallels the broader Franco-German-Spanish FCAS program, highlighting the nation’s dedication to national initiatives and international collaboration.

Paving the way for AI advancements

The recognition of AI’s pivotal role in modern conflicts, especially those involving peer competitors, has spurred the initiative to establish an AI backbone for military applications. Stephanie Lingemann, program director at Helsing, emphasizes that the AI backbone is an essential initial step towards imbuing the Air Force with cross-functional AI capabilities. The FCAS program, a testament to progress, relies on such infrastructure to drive innovation across platforms.

A secure cloud for AI advancements

Sandra Pfetzing-Huber, associate partner at IBM Consulting, underscores the need for a secure and robust IT infrastructure to develop and operate AI applications. To fulfill this requirement, the Secure Cloud (VS-Cloud) from IBM, in partnership with Secunet and RedHat, provides the scalability, flexibility, reliability, and security crucial for the rapid development, operation, and protection of AI applications. This initiative ensures that Germany’s AI advancements are built upon a solid technological foundation.

AI backbone in enabling high-performance military applications

The HIS AI backbone project is poised to foster the development of high-performance AI capabilities tailored for military applications. Its implications extend beyond technological progress, encompassing intricate industry collaboration and deployment to serve the German armed forces. As the project unfolds, it solidifies Germany’s position as a pioneer in integrating AI within national defense systems.

The vision for FCAS and beyond

The FCAS program has gained substantial momentum since unveiling an FCAS aircraft mock-up at the Paris Air Show in June 2019. France and Germany have allocated an initial €4 billion ($4.5 billion) towards the development phase, with Berlin’s contribution expected to comprise half of the total amount. With an operational target of 2040, FCAS’s ambitious vision aligns with Germany’s commitment to technological leadership and international collaboration.

Germany’s foray into integrating artificial intelligence into the FCAS sixth-generation fighter jet exemplifies the nation’s dedication to advancing defense technology. The HIS consortium’s selection, coupled with the secure cloud infrastructure and cross-functional platform, underscores Germany’s commitment to innovation and security. As FCAS progresses toward operational readiness, it marks a significant milestone in the journey toward technological excellence and the evolution of military capabilities.

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