NWI - Naval Warfare

RAAF looks at AI for low-cost SAR

1st November 2019 - 06:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF’s) Plan Jericho initiative has introduced an artificial intelligence (AI) prototype called Ai-Search to improve airborne search and rescue (SAR) operations.

Plan Jericho is the RAAF’s plan to transform itself into a fifth-generation enabled force by 2025.

The prototype uses AI to augment and enhance low-cost SAR capabilities on any defence platform, including UAS, by training a machine-learning algorithm and Ai sensors to complement existing visual search techniques.

The algorithm was developed in two weeks with the help of the Warfare Innovation Navy Branch. Development was supported by a C-27J Spartan equipped with sensors that flew sorties over the Tamar River in Tasmania, gathering data - capturing footage of a range of life rafts, lifeboats and safety equipment - in order to train the system.

The proof of concept will now be evaluated in a series of test flights.

Director Plan Jericho Group Captain Jerome Reid said this was how Jericho needed to approach advanced capability for defence.

‘Empower our bright sparks, connect them with mentors and resources, get out of their way and let the magic happen,’ Reid said. ‘Jericho is running EDGY Air Force, a new Jericho acceleration programme, to bring out the talents of our people.’

Ai-Search is a Plan Jericho collaboration with the Warfare Innovation Navy Branch, Air Mobility Group’s No 35 Squadron and the University of Tasmania’s Australian Maritime College. More partners, including Defence Science and Technology, have been engaged to contribute to future project phases.

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