Air Force Embraces Artificial Intelligence
The United States Air Force is turning to a new method to prevent the maintenance issues that have been plaguing their aging fleet: Artificial Intelligence.
The United States Air Force is struggling to keep their aircraft fleet updated and operational. Most planes, jets, and helicopters have predicted life spans of 20 to 30 years, with deterioration of the airframe being a key concern. The average age of an Air Force plane is 28 years, while the average ages of the F-15 wing and the B-52 wing are 34 and 56, respectively. With old age comes a myriad of issues with the airframe, engine, and other components, leading to several fatal crashes over the past few years
Even though the Air Force spends a majority of its budget on sustaining current aircraft, it still struggles to properly maintain the 5,000 plus units of aircraft that it is responsible for. Therefore, they are beginning to use Artificial Intelligence to provide predictive maintenance for their airframes. A retrofit by the Air Force in 2018 showed the benefits of using Artificial Intelligence after it found mechanical issues that would have caused serious failures in over 35 units of aircraft.
With the success of this small scale test of A.I for plane maintenance, the Air Force has grown more committed to the use of A.I on a larger scale for maintenance. The Assistant Secretary for acquisition and technology of the Air Force believes that pushing forward A.I as a more effective and “smart maintenance approach” is not only necessary for the aging air fleet, but also for newer aircraft such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Artificial Intelligence is set to address the aging of the United States Air Force, which can provide huge cost and life saving solutions.
Written by Ramsay Bader, Edited by Matthew Durborow & Alexander Fleiss