Virtual dogfight between pilots and Al algorithms: Could AI predict dogfights and train pilots?


Artificial intelligence is one of the most pronounced and prominent topics of the current epoch. It has the capacity to alter the fate of warfare. Autonomous weapons are embedded in the future of warfare those left behind shall pay the price for it. AI is going to have serious rounds of implications for air warfare. This article will talk about the importance of Al in training pilots for real-time dogfights while considering the virtual dogfights between F-22 and J-20 while continuing with the dogfight of F-16.

Several questions concerning the capacities of stealth fighters’ jets f-22 and J-20 are frequently asked by veterans and military analysts.

In 2020, a US veteran F-22 pilot took on a Chinese J-20 through a virtual representation. The display of a Chinese J-20 fighter was mounted on the helmet. The helmet was equipped with augmented reality, made by two US companies Red 6 and EpiSci. The augmented reality displaying helmet projected the image of the Chinese adversary in the pilot’s view. The adversary’s aircraft was controlled by EpiSci’s Tactical AI technology.

“With this first-ever within-virtual-range dogfight against an AI bandit, EpiSci’s Tactical AI demonstrated the ability to work on a real aircraft, with flight-ready hardware and sensors.”  (Said Chris Gentile, EpiSci’s Vice President for Tactical Autonomous Systems.)

Another head-to-head combat between Heron System developed Artificial Intelligence program and a veteran US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon in a simulated dogfight resulted in placing AI ahead of human aviator. The AI program defeated a well-season F-16 pilot five times in straight combats. It was a “simulated within-visual-range air combat” where the AI algorithm manifested superhuman aiming abilities. It was a classic dogfight like those of WW2 in which the human pilots never shot a single hit.  This fight was a part of DARPA’s Alpha Dogfight competition which aims to develop manned-unmanned teaming capacity.

Aircraft and teamed autonomous systems engaging in individual tactics have the capacity to train and enable pilots to extend their missions to more border and global air command missions, according to DARPA the designer of the ACE program. In visual-range dogfights, AI has the ability to improve maneuvering techniques, provide a more competitive combat environment, increase precision by creating effective unmanned systems, and would require fewer human resources.

About Author: Aamnah Fatima Khan, a student of Defense and Diplomatic Studies at Fatima Jinnah Women University.


The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Defense Insight.


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