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Air Force eyes artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning for cognitive electronic warfare (EW)

Sept. 21, 2021
Project Kaiju to develop AI and machine learning for cognitive electronic warfare using open-systems standards and agile algorithm software development.

This Military & Aerospace Electronics article is reprinted here with permission.

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – U.S. Air Force researchers plan to kick-off a project to develop new kinds of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to enable attack aircraft to engage and defeat next-generation enemy integrated air-defense systems (IADS).

Officials of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, released a presolicitation last Thursday (FA8650-22-S-1004) for Project Kaiju to apply AI and machine learning to future cognitive electronic warfare (EW) systems to help aircraft penetrate air defenses that rely on multispectral sensors, missiles, other air-defense assets.

The next evolution of advanced IADS is likely to employ radars, surface-to-air missiles, and air-to-air defenses that use multi-spectrum technology, Air Force researchers explain. Future U.S. aircraft must deal with missiles guided by electro-optical and RF sensors for detection, navigation, and tracking.

Cognitive refers to systems that use AI and machine learning an attempts to mimic human decision making by using sensors, perceptions, learning, reasoning, and memory autonomously. AI and machine learning can help generate and analyze growing amounts of mission data in real-time, and open opportunities for using autonomous cognitive EW.

Project Kaiju seeks to develop AI and machine learning technology that can migrate into fielded systems. The project will rely on open-systems standards, agile software algorithm development, and process validation tools.

The five-year Project Kaiju seeks to spend as much as $150 million to advance technologies in nine main tasks: big data for cognitive EW research; software-defined radio (SDR) research; multi-spectrum threat defeat; RAPTURE Laboratory; electronic attack demonstration; real-time algorithm development; RF EW demonstrator for next sortie mission data reprogramming; advanced threat defeat; and program management.

Air Force researchers say they plan to award two contracts for Project Kaiju effort, one for the main nine tasks, and one for extra work on the electronic attack demonstration, real-time algorithm development, RF EW demonstrator for next sortie mission data reprogramming, and advanced threat defeat. Work on these contracts will be at the top-secret classification level.

Researchers will conduct industry briefings at a yet-unspecified time in late October before releasing a formal solicitation for Project Kaiju. The formal solicitation is expected in January 2022.

Email technical questions or concerns to the Air Force's Gary Kaufman at [email protected], and contracting questions to Caleb Rose at [email protected].

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