USAF to Plan Future Air Operations in High-Tech Video Game, Drag and Drop Included

There are several urban myths out there claiming some of the world’s most powerful militaries are carefully looking at what’s happening in video games in a bid to recruit the best players and use them in the real world. As true or not as those myths may be, what is a reality is the fact the military does use video game like software for a variety of purposes.
Video game and AI to help USAF better plan missions 7 photos
Ace Combat 7 - Top Gun: Maverick screenshotAce Combat 7 - Top Gun: Maverick screenshotAce Combat 7 - Top Gun: Maverick screenshotAce Combat 7 - Top Gun: Maverick screenshotAce Combat 7 - Top Gun: Maverick screenshotAce Combat 7 - Top Gun: Maverick screenshot
The most recent confirmation of that came this week, when defense contractor BAE Systems said it was awarded $17 million to develop a way to integrate “artificial intelligence (AI) into an interactive game environment.” The creator of the project is the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), which plans to use whatever BAE comes up with “to revolutionize air operations planning for contested environments.”

The contract award is part of the Fight Tonight program the AFRL introduced back in 2021 in a bid to find ways of shortening the time it takes to plan major air operations.

BAE’s solution, which will be researched together with Uncharted Software and the Kestrel Institute, will comprise an interactive user interface “that enables planners to rapidly explore and access plausible futures and select the best plans in a dynamic environment. “

What exactly that means is not clear at this moment, and it’s unlikely all of the specs will ever be released. We are told though that with the help of the AI and the video game-like interface, mission planning should be done much faster and possibly even better than without the aid of such tech, including thanks to drag and drop capabilities.

“This technology is about using AI to provide commanders with more options faster and with more details to ensure the most robust plan is selected,” said in a statement Mike Miller, technical director for BAE Systems’ FAST Labs.

“The drag-and-drop video game-like interactions would reduce the time it takes to make a series of incremental adjustments to a plan from hours to minutes.”

Editor's note: Gallery shows images from Ace Combat 7.

press release

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