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EDF-2021-AIR-R-NGRT: Next generation rotorcraft technologies

The importance of rotorcrafts, as principal vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) assets/systems, in military operations is widely recognized. Military rotorcraft are the workhorses of battlefields, fulfilling missions like armed reconnaissance, strike, combat search-and-rescue (CSAR), MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC), utility, air assault and close aerial support (CAS), which are critical for the success of military operations.

Beyond their pure military role, military helicopters are also key assets for a better civilian security and protection and EU-internal resilience, with critical contribution to disaster relief, civilian search-and-rescue, and sanitary crises.

As such, rotorcrafts bringing the unique ability to take-off and land from almost anywhere, are considered powerful multi-domain operations enablers.

Future combat theatres will mainly take place in congested urban environment – to be expected 65% of population in 2040; moreover most of those congested urban clusters will be in the littoral regions. Thus, potential threats may require moving further away from sea- or land-placed operational bases. Reduced time for intervention will be key, not only to reduce fatalities (faster CAS, MEDEVAC, CSAR…), but also to increase impact of direct actions (faster troop mobility, counter “fait accompli” attempts during hybrid warfare scenario). With major uncertainty on potential 2030+ fields of operations (geographical environment, but also on confrontation intensity), troops may need to operate more swiftly and more autonomously, with VTOL weapon systems offering multiple capabilities for the range of multi-domain (Ground/Air/Naval) missions.

At the same time, advances in systems of systems (SoS) approach, collaborative combat (distributed sensors and functions among collaborative platforms), vehicle and materials features (new helicopter architectures for higher speed and longer range, ballistic protections, signature/detectability reduction) as well as avionics and systems technologies (e.g. big data processing, artificial intelligence, next generation and augmented vehicle, more precise sensors) will create major breakthroughs in combat helicopters capabilities.

Capability assessment in EU and NATO frameworks confirms the need to prepare future rotorcraft systems, with hundreds of NATO/EU helicopters to be replaced from 2035 and beyond 2040. To bundle efforts, the proposals should be consistent with European defence agency and NATO capability working groups.

To answer this future environment, EU armed forces will require an aligned perspective of the future operating environment (FOE) and research future operating concepts (FOC) of military VTOL-systems including:

  • Operability and operational flexibility
  • Affordability both in procurement and life cycle cost
  • Survivability , up to potential Peer nations high intensity conflict
  • Sustainability and Operational readiness
  • Interoperability for joint and combined operations and collaborative combat
  • Resilience, with reduced dependency on critical installation and materials

The scope of this topic concerns research on future technologies and the future operating environment (FOE) and future operating concepts (FOC) of military VTOL-systems.

In particular the proposals must address:

  • The ends to draw the outlines of the future operating concepts. These outlines are based on the future operating environment (FOE) as well as the role and purpose of VTOL-systems.
  • Once the outlines are set, the research activities can be focused on the future operating concept (FOC). This conceptual approach concerns all levels of warfare: strategic, operational, tactical and technical. But also logistic and maintenance concepts such as predictive and/or condition-based maintenance, logistical footprint, supply-chain management, acceptable life cycle costs and a flexible/affordable airworthiness certification process with common European (military) certification specifications.
  • Based on a common perspective on the future (military) operating concept, the required capabilities can be derived, which in turn defines the means: the required military capacities, the required governance to develop and exploit these military capacities and the interoperability requirements. Almost all future military scenarios involve using information to optimize operations. This involves network centric operations in which envisaged future vertical lift obtain information from networks, distribute information on networks and operate closely with other parties to attain intended effects.
  • Pre-feasibility studies of possible architecture and operational concepts for high performances military VTOL platforms. Those studies will rely on:
    • Fundamental work on EU Defence community needs on vertical lift, based on reference combat missions scenarios to be defined, technical and operational studies, concept of operation (CONOPS) definition, battlefield simulations, interactions with advanced vehicle concept designs scalability and applicability to various military missions.
    • Research on rotorcraft conceptual design: assessment of various vehicle formula scalability and applicability to EU military missions and EU operational requirements. Coordination of technology acquisition efforts to integrate key future capability streams since early concept phase (e.g. modularity, survivability, design-to-cost).
  • This assessment will include flights with higher speed & longer range VTOL technology demonstrators as necessary, as well as the use of available ground flight simulators. Flying technology demonstrators may be employed to assess new capabilities for military missions, understand key features (e.g. manoeuvrability along the flight domain, IR/EM/noise signatures) and potentially as flying test-beds of technologies. First fly-tests, supported by ground flight simulators, should allow EU MoD helicopter specialists to have a pragmatic hands-on insight on the capabilities brought by new high speed / long range / low (reduced) consumption helicopter concepts, when needed for various kind of military missions.
  • Research on key technologies for next generation VTOL platforms

This part consists in screening all relevant European technologies available in 5 or 10 years, characterize innovation and technological breakthrough/turnkey challenges fitted to VTOL, and research technological solutions in order to meet future objectives in terms of operability, interoperability, affordability, sustainability and survivability.

The proposals must cover the following activities as referred in article 10.3 of the EDF Regulation:

  • Studies, such as feasibility studies to explore the feasibility of new or improved technologies, products, processes, services and solutions.

The targeted activities must include the initial phases of the concept of operations, operational solutions supported as well as assessing selected technologies, in particular:

  • Study of the future operating environment (FOE) and the role and purpose of military VTOL-systems in this as SoS.
  • Study the future operating concept (FOC) including all levels of warfare: strategic, operational, tactical and technical;
  • Technological support to the evolution of state-of-the-art current helicopter/rotorcraft systems (including EU tilt-rotors and compound rotorcraft). To secure the neutral nature of research in this phase, these widespread studies on potential new systems to come is meant to be in use also for any helicopters/rotorcrafts models associated to European Members States.
  • Study the required military capacities, the required industrial activities to develop and exploit these military capacities and the interoperability requirements.
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EDF-2021-AIR-D-EPE: Enhanced pilot environment for air combat

The future warfare is largely characterised by weapon system automation and networking. While being implemented in all military domains, the concept of swarming and autonomy is in particular evolving in the air domain. Such evolutions have the potential to increase next generation air combat assets effectiveness because connectivity would allow accessing an increased amount of information thus contributing to build a more comprehensive operational picture and UAS assets contributing to the execution of specific mission tasks would multiply the operational impact.

As a result, a large number of actors, effectors, and sensors will be connected, generating an amazing collection of information and data. This induces a great challenge to put the pilots at the centre of missions.

From an air combat pilot perspective, the above evolution progressively adds information for situation awareness building and mission management tasks going beyond the ownship to supervise other platforms under his/her responsibility. The human-in-control principle would imply the risk of information overload or that key aspects of the mission are overlooked.

In order to match the capabilities brought by the above enablers with pilot effectiveness, interfaces need to become more flexible and be able to drive pilot attention to the best course of action. In other words, the cockpit HMI59, despite the larger amount of information available and the management tasks going beyond the ownship, should evolve to enhance the pilot decision making and action process and timing. Main characteristics would be the capability to delegate under human supervision, an increasing number of tasks to more and more autonomous systems and the capability to adjust to new and unexpected situations that will enable to cut short the cognitive load of operators within a specific framework.

This context will require the development of new sets of equipment and software more and more sophisticated which could take advantage from new technologies like wearable, visionics, haptics, vocal command, virtual operator assistant, augmented reality, 3D holography, implementation concepts, artificial intelligence and autonomy. This will free men from repetitive tasks so they can focus their resources on high value fields of action, thereby improving combat effectiveness.

From the human-machine relationship point of view, new generation military aircraft inserted in this collaborative air combat will require a new generation of man-machine relationship that allows an ergonomic cooperation between the crew and the machine, a performed effectiveness and a safe flight, as well as the cooperation with other assets, including unmanned ones. The new technologies will allow gaining tactical advantage by assisting the crew as a real co-pilot that answers the crew requests, proposes tactics and procedures and adapts the interfaces to the crew.

The definition of a novel design and interaction principles for managing automated/autonomous aircraft functions and cooperating with System-of-Systems team mates, including adaptive interfaces can be defined as man-machine teaming (MMT).

Taking into account the new paradigm, the following subjects could be addressed:

  • New or disruptive HMI technologies including for instance displays, wearables, vocal dialog, augmented reality, stereoscopy;
  • Pilot state monitoring in relation to the mission and systems status;
  • Services for assisted decision- making support (based on advances techniques like Artificial Intelligence not excluding other approaches).

Preliminary analyses show that in order to pursue those challenges, the future European aerial combat systems will need to be equipped with an innovative cockpit offering the pilot breakthrough display and interaction capabilities. In this context, it seems clear that new products (head-down, eyes-out, interface modalities, virtual assistant…) have to be developed.

Hence, this topic addresses the rise in maturity, with the objective to reach TRL 4, supported by demonstrations, of technological and technical solutions necessary for future enhanced products.

The proposals may consider existing manned and unmanned air platforms and future ones under development, including training aircraft in a long term perspective or as quick-win.

Against the background of the design of new generation air combat platforms in Europe, or upgrades of those today in service, the following themes have to be considered:

  • Adaptive human system collaboration: adaptive collaborative HMI for operations in a distributed environment with multiplatform assets and the definition of novel design and interaction principles for managing automated/autonomous aircraft functions and cooperating with System-of-Systems team mates, including adaptive interfaces;
  • Visualisation: both visualisation products and advanced pilot information presentation capabilities;
  • Crew monitoring system: systems and techniques able to support and assist pilots, and in general human operators in performing the flight and mission control in a more demanding operational environment;
  • Interaction modalities: the need for innovative HMI technologies including e.g. wearable, visionics, haptics, vocal command, virtual operator assistant, Augmented Reality, 3D holography and implementation concepts;

Emulation of the pilot interactions with its environment might be addressed when needed in a transversal way within the studied areas.

All of those themes will be able to rely, at different levels, on different technology building blocks exploiting the opportunity to use advanced research techniques such as artificial intelligence, machine learning or others that can enable more advanced capabilities for the overall mission performance. This topic is therefore transversal. However, as a complement, it may be interesting to study the theme of “Decision-making system” whose objective would be to prioritize, order and present, whatever the situation during the mission, the most relevant information to the pilot with an objective of efficiency and safety.

Whatever the theme considered, quick wins must be identified, evaluated and tested so as to prepare their implementation on current or upcoming systems.

The proposals must cover the following activities as referred in article 10.3 of the EDF Regulation, not excluding upstream and downstream activities eligible for development actions if deemed useful to reach the objectives:

  • Studies, such as feasibility studies to explore the feasibility of new or improved technologies, products, processes, services and solutions, related to advanced air combat cockpit HMI functions and related technologies enabling effective multi-role and networked operations including MUM-T in a highly contested environment.

In particular, the targeted activities are:

  • Operational and training use-cases definition to elaborate specifications (performances, safety objectives…). For that purpose, workshops will be implemented with participating Member States and associated countries ministry of defence representatives, including end-users, to establish high-level operational requirements and relevant scenarios.
  • For each of the abovementioned themes, relevant technology identification, analysis, including quick wins opportunities identification and analysis leading to the demonstration and development activities dedicated to these opportunities to be performed in a shorter timeframe in order to enable quick implementation process.
  • Technologies evaluations and demonstrations. These activities will help on to select the relevant technologies to upgrade and to demonstrate further the efficiently of these upgraded technologies through operational scenarios.
  • Relevant technologies maturation and development.

In order to maximize inter-domain synergies and take advantage of distributed expertise, proposals must address the abovementioned themes according to their following respective description, notwithstanding others fields of interest leading to identify new technologies to be explored, preliminary developed and demonstrated:

Theme N°1: Adaptive human system collaboration

This theme addresses the definition of a new paradigm of human-machine teaming in future collaborative and connected air warfare. New generation military aircraft participating in collaborative air combat will require a human system interface that enhances the awareness of the tactical situation and allows an ergonomic cooperation between crews and machines for a safe flight and high performance in cooperation with both manned and unmanned assets. This will cover human-machine/human-human/machine-machine Teaming, but will not include functional algorithms.

Legacy human-machine interfaces lack the necessary flexibility and adaptability to meet the demands of future combat systems. To avoid compromising the effectiveness of human operators in the future, applied research is required to address topics such as:

  • HMI principles for cross platform mission management considering (human- machine/human-human/machine-machine teaming, not including the specific functional algorithms;
  • Adaptive HMI mechanisms e.g. based on crew management system (CMS) data and in accordance with the specific operational context.

This will then lead to main characteristics of the Human Machine Interface as follows:

  • Strengthened and adaptive cooperation between all systems, either manned or unmanned, involved in an operation;
  • Human supervised delegation of tasks to more and more autonomous systems;
  •  “Real co-pilot” like assistance to provide the crew with system proposals and to adapt interfaces.

Theme N°2: Visualisation

This theme addresses both visualization and advanced pilot information presentation capabilities, including 3D presentation, and other novel presentations that could be implemented in the next generation of aircraft, through:

  • Augmented reality, large area displays (free form, multi touch, auto-stereoscopy), 3D holography and implementation concept;
  • Helmet mounted display (HMD) solutions crucial for the next generation cockpit. Technological solutions exploration should be carried out for increasing technical characteristics in terms of presentation field and functional capabilities (integrated night vision, primary flight display function, and support for CMS sensors, target designation and view through the cockpit. It will also have to take into account the control of its inertia characteristics (mass and centre of gravity of the HMD carried by the pilot’s head).

Therefore, the following areas could be investigated:

  • Digital integrated night vision;
  • HMD wireless link;
  • Enhanced synthetic vision system (including live virtual constructive visual integration).

Under the scope of this theme, there will be demonstrations with physical, digital mock-up and/or simulations on the basis of operational “use-cases”. An iterative implementation of research findings will be conducted to continuously optimise the performance of the demonstration also based on the initial user requirements.

Theme N°3: Crew monitoring system

This theme concerns the real-time monitoring of the physiological and cognitive states of the crew. The elements of interest, or deleterious capacities, to be monitored are, for example, operator incapacity (G-LoC61, hypoxia, spatial disorientation…), hypovigilance, attentional tunnelling, mental workload, stress and situational awareness. These aspects are crucial in particular for the future air combat systems where the operational environment and the way of operate are significantly more complex than the current ones. Crew monitoring system can be applied to operational embedded systems as well as to training systems (embedded or on ground).

In order to more specifically mature the CMS models the following areas could be investigated:

  • Mental workload;
  • Ability to collaborate;
  • Situational Awareness;
  • Stress.

The validation of CMS models is a crucial point in the CMS chain’s rise to maturity also based on a pilot behavioural knowledge base (PBKB) that needs to be contextualised in accordance to the diversity of human, missions and tasks, including through AI and ML-based techniques.

Under the scope of this theme, there will be demonstrations with physical, digital mock-up and/or simulations on the basis of operational use-cases. An iterative implementation of research findings will be conducted to continuously optimise the performance of the demonstration.

Theme N°4: Interaction modalities

This theme addresses both the modalities of interaction as well as their combination in the field of e.g. wearable, visionics, haptics, vocal command, touch, gesture, etc.

In terms of means, it takes into account:

  • Audio, in terms of input/outputs: voice command, natural language processing, in a very constrained environment such as that of a fighter, voice synthesis and advanced audio functions such as 3D Sound for example;
  • Eye: the eye tracker which is used as a CMS sensor is here dedicated to interaction. Coupled with another modality such as voice, it is a vector of efficiency for target designation in an eyes-in or eyes-out use;
  • Touch: a particular objective will be to study multi-touch (up to 5 fingers) technologies to interact with the displays;
  • Gesture controls;
  • Haptic/Tactile display of information;
  • Handwriting recognition and more generally the ability to interact naturally with a “white board”.

Multimodality would provide greater security, resilience and accuracy by removing ambiguity about the operator’s intentions.

Under the scope of this theme, there will be demonstrations with physical/digital mock-up and/or simulations on the basis of operational use-cases. An iterative implementation of research findings will be conducted to continuously optimise the performance of the demonstration.

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EDF-2021-AIR-D-CAC: European interoperability standard for collaborative air combat

European air forces share the aim to have highly integrated multiplatform mission management capabilities:

  • To enable the variety of different assets, manned and unmanned, to operate during an air operation together jointly and synchronized (including interoperability with NATO, and potentially other coalition situations);
  • To share efficiently sensors and effectors resources of manned and unmanned assets;
  • To share data and information (e.g. situational awareness), leading to informational and ultimately decisional superiority.

These capabilities objectives imply the deployment of connected collaborative combat which endorses the fact that the systems ensure several properties: to ensure the interoperability of heterogeneous systems (different types of aircraft for example), to enable secure and standardised exchanges of data and resources, to easily incorporate changes in mission system software to take into account operational needs (modification of existing functions, tactical needs, evolutions of rules of engagement, add on of new functions….).

To satisfy those challenges at the level of European air combat, design rules, compliant with existing standards when needed, and applicable standards definition to future mission and collaborative air combat systems or to evolution (new functionalities) of the existing mission systems have to be defined in the European industry landscape on the basis of operational realities and user requirements.

The need and relevance of those standards has to be concretely demonstrated through focused end-to-end connections as well as the seamless integration of a maximum of allied weapon systems to a networking environment and their interaction, thus illustrating all the benefits of advanced collaborative combat. This will pave the way for future European collaboration at the operational level with improved capabilities.

The key challenge is to jointly build a European perspective enabling the Member States to address at middle and long term collaborative air combat capabilities combining future air combat systems, manned or unmanned platforms, legacy platforms and their evolution, including sensors and effectors. Nowadays, European air forces are built on a wide variety of heterogeneous systems. This variety brings the challenge of interoperability on the functional, software and hardware levels. With the plausible introduction of unmanned systems into air combat, future interoperability requires a far deeper interconnectedness that can be provided with new generation of tactical data links.

This implies the development of interoperability standards enabling collaborative combat to provide for a common entry point of proprietarily developed systems. These standards would address IT evolutions (communication, dissemination, services sharing, cybersecurity) and take them to the next level, with all participants agreeing to the related details.

Different mission systems on board different Nations’ assets would benefit from a service- oriented architecture among them. This approach enables all Nations to operate as a whole without the need to use the exact same equipment or assets. It indeed specifies the functional interfaces between assets without imposing specific systems within those assets. The definition of such a service-oriented architecture and its relying standards is a key milestone for modernization of the capabilities of EU military fleets.

Another effort axis consists in studying, as a consistent system approach, the integration of platforms and effectors.

Edge-computing on board new generation manned or unmanned assets can bring new capabilities, relying on mission computers with vast amounts of processing power, storing capacities. On their basis, several mission management functions can be implemented or improved, like the closely integrated operation of manned and unmanned assets through collaborative mission management or smart processing of heterogeneous sensor data (radar, optronics and electronic warfare) across heterogeneous assets. Equally, formation, communication, information or weapon management can be revolutionized, even for legacy systems. Mission management and sensors collaboration improvements allow for an overall better operational performance of each asset and a better perception of their tactical environment. Scalability of those mission computers would be a key element as well.

An optimized usage of resources in the combat air domain would facilitate the increase of mission effectiveness. In such more cooperative environment, standards and common way of sharing information among assets are necessary, with impact on the way to design mission system functions. To enable those capabilities, the definition of data formats –a common referential– for those applications is necessary for the nations, as well as common processes to share them –common languages–.

This implies also to address the evolutivity of the mission systems to enable adaptation to new tactics, concepts and collaboration standards, definition of design rules applicable to legacy systems evolution and futures systems. This will lead to exploit key technologies such as artificial intelligence for instance to enable some collaborative services among air platform. Existing and futures open standards (e.g. like ECOA, IMA …) need to be addressed to cope with the challenge of harmonizing the software footprint of all kind of equipment on board military aircrafts and could be a good starting point.

More specifically, the command and control of manned and unmanned systems from an airborne combat asset perspective, as well as the handling and exploiting of the wealth of information generated by distributed sensors across collaborating assets, will require the application of dedicated AI technologies in a variety of technical and operational domains. Making sure this “digital partner” outputs are trustable and do not jeopardize the human responsibility in military action is paramount. In this regard, identified AI work streams could include (without being limited to) with a specific focus on airborne combat asset use cases:

  • Flight Certification and airworthiness issues with AI based functions on board
  • Identification, selection and usage prototyping of engineering tools and methods enabling the sovereign use of protected AI Data and algorithm libraries

This topic also has to take into account relevant outputs and results of ongoing and potential future European projects (for example, but not limited to: EDIDP, EDF, multilateral projects…), as well as future combat programmes, and pursue a maximum level of compatibility, compliance and interoperability.

The scope of this topic is to propose solutions supported by demonstrations when relevant on the major axis presented above, thus providing air collaborative combat standardised solutions, mission systems evolutivity, standardised effectors interfaces and European sovereignty over AI technologies (tools, methods and libraries).

The targets are twofold: first, medium-term outputs to be implemented as standardised collaborative mission management enhancements for existing or upcoming European operated platforms, on the basis of commonly agreed standards and requirements of the participating Nations to favourably influence the construction of future European air combat capabilities. Potential implementations on existing platforms are not part of this project but are likely to be specified based on developed standards for an implementation in the respective national perimeter.

The proposals must consider manned and unmanned combat platform assets/concepts operated by the participating Member States, from current or upcoming ones to future air combat systems in Europe within an interoperability incremental approach. Future air combat scenarios require to rethink collaboration which is inseparable from an extended interaction between combat aircraft and a diversity of collaborative assets contributing to air combat operations also interfacing with any other domain (air, land, sea, space, cyber, …) (e.g. mission aircraft, tanker, JTAC…). This includes the need to consider interoperability with system of non-EU origin, to provide for compliance with NATO and other coalition situations, to be identified through the high-level operational requirements definition.

The proposals must consider scenarios for air combat operations in contested and highly contested environments at least geographically located in geographic Europe, Northern Africa and Middle-East. This could be complemented (e.g. Air defence and air policing within European airspace) when the common high-level operational requirements will be set up in close alignment with participating Member States’ representatives.

The proposals must cover the following activities as referred in article 10.3 of the EDF Regulation, not excluding possible upstream activities eligible for development actions if deemed useful to reach the objectives:

  • studies, such as feasibility studies to explore the feasibility of new or improved technologies, products, processes, services and solutions;
  • the design of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology as well as the definition of the technical specifications on which such design has been developed which may include partial tests for risk reduction in an industrial or representative environment.

In particular, the targeted activities must include:

(1) Air Collaborative Combat: interoperability of heterogeneous systems

  • Development of use-cases, high-level operational requirements with end-users to support the consolidation of a common operational perspective with regard to Air collaborative warfare for EU capabilities, manned and unmanned.
  • Functional architecture and technical architectures principles of airborne combat asset mission systems for standardisation and interoperability scope,
  • Definition of required Interoperability standards for mid- and long-term platforms from existing aircrafts manned or unmanned to the new generation of platforms, communications, security, data/services: analysis of existing and emerging standards, gap analysis, existing standards evolution or new ones
  • Definition of standards for Services Oriented sensors interfaces: analysis of existing and emerging standards, gap analysis, existing standards evolution or new ones
  • Machine to machine collaboration (architecture principles for interoperability of heterogeneous assets, definition of information transfer protocols)
  • Human – System collaboration (socio-technical aspects): impact of AI implementation in military assets, operational (SA and decision making, effects delivery), ethical and regulatory aspects.
  • Demonstrations (Proofs of Concepts through simulations, ground/flight demos…), implementation of existing and envisaged standards on ground and/or demo platforms, illustrating concrete benefits of collaboration between connected assets taking part in an air operation. This could be envisaged on existing platforms.

In a transversal way, activities must be lead with attention paid to:

  • Identification of quick wins, based on existing EU technologies, open standards and initiatives, taking into account operational, technical and legal boundaries and limitations, and national specifics, etc.
  • Cyber resilience aspects and data protection.

(2) Air collaborative combat and mission system evolutivity: Software development standardisation and hardware reference model development

  • Dissemination and development/enhancement of existing or new standards for software development (e.g. ECOA, IMA …): advanced IT technologies should bring a significant advantage for the mission system development and improvement of the mission system capabilities.
  • Open-based component oriented architecture is seen as a good candidate to reduce through-life cost and timescales for production and updates of complex integrated system such as an airborne Mission System. Existing standards will be analysed taking into consideration the specific needs. Certifiable plug& play, state-of-the-art system update, self-healing databases mechanisms have to be investigated.
  • Tools for supporting the standard definition should be identified and developed if needed.
  • Development of references of a hardware model: common architecture principles and standardisation of computer interfaces

(3) Effectors integration on airborne platforms

Future airborne systems will show a deeper integration of platforms and effectors (dataflow, energy supplying…) to answer to operational needs (reactivity, safety, flexibility, LO demands …). Starting from the existing effectors functions, the study aims at identifying integration strategies between the future portfolios of effectors and aerial platforms at the turn of 2030 and beyond. Existing and future standardisation trends will be analysed and considered in the proposal of integration strategies. As other projects are ongoing (i.e. LSIF), the study will focus on add-on to the current standards to take into account new functionalities required by smart weapons (expendable RC, networked armament,…) and extended operational aspects in addition to physical interface.

(4) AI Technologies

  • Formalisation of airworthiness and safety typical issues related to AI based functions on board
  • Identification, selection and usage prototyping of AI toolkits (e.g. European alternative to tools like Tenserflow, Pytorch or RLlib), libraries, methods (e.g. machine learning, neural networks, …) enabling an independent and sovereign use of these technologies by the EU for military purpose Definition at European level, of methods and processes for military qualification of non-safety critical and trustable AI functions
  • Demonstration (proof of concept) of tools and processes for the development, certification and validation of “trustable” AI driven operational services (e.g. dynamic tasking of assets, decision-making support, data routing processes) for the purpose of validating feasibility and airworthiness/safety issues

Those activities will be complementary of other studies on AI technologies (e.g. dealing with concerns as Frugal and Robust learning for rapid adaptation of AI systems) having a specific focus on airborne use-cases.

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