Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and a local defence institute have embarked on a project to develop artificial intelligence applications that can be applied to manned and unmanned aircraft.
Following an agreement signed in December 2023, KAI and the Korea Research Institute of Defence will work on AI applications for aircraft, including a “voice/video combat situation recognition system” that will reduce pilot workload, says KAI.
The project will run to November 2028, prior to the proposed development of an unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) in the 2030s. The work will also support other fixed- and rotary-wing platforms.
KAI is already developing a system for manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) between the KUH-1 Surion helicopter and unmanned air vehicles. Studies are also underway for a similar system that would link the FA-50 light-attack aircraft with “high-performance” unmanned aircraft.
“This technology development agreement will further advance Korea’s ability to develop manned and unmanned combat systems,” says a KAI official.
“We will continue to develop core technologies such as AI Pilot, mission autonomy, and sensor fusion technology based on 4th Industrial Revolution technology.”
According to the World Economic Forum, the 4th Industrial Revolution is seen “blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres”.
The KAI executive adds that after 2025 a manned-unmanned teaming concept will be demonstrated with the FA-50.
KAI and local rival Korean Air displayed a number of UCAV concepts at the Seoul ADEX defence show in October 2023. Similar to the conceptual collaborative combat aircraft being studied in the USA, the UCAVs are envisaged working seamlessly alongside manned aircraft.