FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW: From the first, Lockheed Martin has been out front discussing Multi-Domain Operations. The company has set up something like an Integrated Product Team to coordinate work across the world’s biggest defense company and bring the right products together for the US military as it tries to build a global network of sensors, communications devices and data fusion engines — all of it made useful by Artificial Intelligences made useful by machine learning.
The man leading those efforts, Rob Smith, sat down with me at the air show. The video includes the first few minutes of our conversation. The rest you need to read!
Perhaps the biggest news is that a new command and control system Lockheed is selling to an unnamed international customer includes automated “enemy intent analysis.” So, the Diamond Shield system takes the enormous amount of data gathered by the system, uses Artificial Intelligence to analyze it, and tells commanders what it thinks the enemy will do. It also, Smith told me, automatically generates air tasking orders for pilots and bombers to use.
So we’re already on the cusp of a system designed to crunch enormous quantities of data from many different sensors and to make intelligent recommendations on how war should be prosecuted. The Air Force, of course, has been building the Concept of Operations for a Multi-Domain Command and Control system (MDC2), which it hopes to eventually develop. Breaking D readers will remember our story that Raytheon is also pursuing work on a range of technologies it hopes will meet the needs of MDC2.
At its next August war-game, Lockheed will use its Common Mission Software Baseline, which I suggested could become the foundation for something like Skynet, an intelligent, open architecture system that handles all the data from all those sensors. Smith agreed, but he’s been careful to note his belief that humans will always be on or in the loop of all decisions to use lethal force.