The China People’s Liberation Army (PLAAF) Air Force has begun deploying Artificial Intelligence (AI) as simulated opponents in pilots’ air combat training so they can not only improve their decision-making skills and combat against calculating computers fast but also so the AIs can also learn from each confrontation and have already outperformed their human opponents on many occasions, according to a new report.
In addition to efficiently training pilots, AIs are expected to be an integral part of China’s future fighter planes that will assist pilots in their combat decisions, observers said.
An aviation brigade affiliated with the PLA Central Theater Command Air Force held a training simulation earlier in the summer, in which Fang Guoyu, a brigade group leader and champion in a previous air combat exercise, was shot down in a simulation of air battle against an aircraft piloted by AI in a simulator, reported the PLA Daily.
This isn’t the first time the renowned Fang has been shot down by the AI, and Fang isn’t the only ace the AI has defeated in recent years, the report said.
“The AI showed flight control skills and flawless tactical decisions, making it a valuable opponent to enhance our capabilities,” said Du Jianfeng, brigade commander. The brigade has been integrating simulated and AI-assisted training into daily training for the past few years, he said.
Simulated training can increase training efficiency, save costs and decrease flight risks, and with the rapid development of technology, it has become a common goal for major military powers around the world to take advantage of training simulations, he said the PLA Daily.
The AI-based autonomous air combat simulator was jointly developed by the brigade and research institutes and has become a solid support for increasing pilots’ combat capabilities, Fang said.
AI is also learning from the pilots as it collects data from each training session. “In the beginning, it wasn’t difficult to beat the AI. But by studying the data, every fight became a chance to improve,” Fang said, noting that in one combat session, Fang used a tough tactic against the AI and finally won it by a small margin, but in the next session. , the AI used the same tactic against Fang to defeat him.
This forces pilots to develop ever more innovative tactics and make discoveries to win those simulations said the PLA Daily.
AIs can not only help pilots improve in training, but also be integrated into fighter planes and assist pilots in combat, for example by calculating the best tactical options for pilots to choose from taking into account the entire battlefield situation, with much better efficiency than a human brain is very complicated situations, a Chinese military expert told the Global Times, requesting anonymity.
This is also the concept raised by Yang Wei, chief designer of China’s J-20 stealth fighter jet. Yang said in a 2020 article that the next-generation jet fighter could feature AI, which is a key field in helping pilots process vast information and make decisions in complicated battlefield environments.
SOURCE: Global Times