Artificial Intelligence and Aegis: The Future is Here

Artificial Intelligence and Aegis: The Future is Here
January 10, 2023

Yesterday’s science fiction has become today’s reality with Artificial Intelligence’s (AI) creation of a highly interconnected present. The automated future seems more attainable as AI has become part of our everyday lives - on phones, social media, and in our cars. Harnessing this power for the United States Navy, Lockheed Martin is developing and fielding AI technologies with speed and agility across Aegis Combat System lifecycles to deliver a superior solution and tactical advantage to the fleet.

With Lockheed Martin’s focus on 21st Century Security and helping our customers stay ahead of ready, it’s important we develop and deliver mission-focused defense capabilities by innovating with agility, urgency, and affordability.

“The Aegis Combat System combines over 50 years of continuous evolution to provide rapid, modern updates to the warfighters,” said Joe DePietro, vice president and general manager of Naval Combat and Missile Defense Systems at Lockheed Martin. “Today, we are exploring how AI can provide faster system reaction time and decision-support for operators and commanders.” 

Data: Strategic Asset

Due to the volume of data generated and the pace at which it must be processed, the Aegis Weapon System will continue to be a driving force in the ways we utilize AI. Across the enterprise, Aegis domain experts are leveraging AI innovations to rapidly deliver enhancements to our U.S. Navy customer.  We’ve made tremendous progress in providing system enhancements, such as the ability to autonomously recognize patterns that are more subtle than a human with conventional software decision aids could discern.

Why does this matter? Lockheed Martin is using AI methods to enhance our Naval radars by identifying patterns in various types of data, dramatically improving the ability to detect, track and identify emerging threats based on the electronic signatures present in the data. The complexity and volume of the data processed by the Aegis Fire Control system make them ideal candidates for exploring AI as part of the solution.  

With hundreds of AI and Machine Learning engineers now working with our team, we have a concentration of experts that enables us to evaluate opportunities across the Aegis eco-system for data-driven enhancement and to implement and deploy AI solutions – from the factory to the fleet.

Insights into Action: More Data, Faster

Aegis uses AI to provide critical mission-focused capability improvements in situational awareness, operator decision making and reduced reaction time. Incorporating advancements in AI algorithms for these areas is imperative to keep the U.S. Navy ahead of the threat. This is critically important as Aegis is called on to defend against hypersonic threats – those flying more than five times the speed of sound.

Outside the combat system, AI can help Aegis predictively determine when parts will need maintenance before they break, thereby maximizing uptime. When applied with our model-based engineering processes, AI helps us identify and fix hardware and software problems early – keeping cost down and allowing us to deliver new capability builds faster.

Ethical Integrity

Our AI moral compass will say a great deal to future generations about how we balanced sensible concerns and the values we have as a corporation. Lockheed Martin knows that decisions made by automated software must be rooted in guiding ethical principles.

Notably, our mature engineering process is aligned to the five Department of Defense AI Ethical Principles (Responsible, Equitable, Traceable, Reliable and Governable). We have implemented design, test and review processes which produce artifacts to demonstrate that a model is safe, ethical, and explainable. LM implements a thorough review alongside customer stakeholders, prior to deploying AI algorithms in our systems.

Carpe Diem: Seize the Day   

Our major U.S. Navy platforms and programs – both current and future – are the logical landing spots for AI. We’re early adopters and have been working to gain our customers’ trust in those systems through demonstrations and capability insertion on current programs. As the speed of information, data – and threats – has continued to accelerate, new technology is needed to stay ahead of ready. Lockheed Martin’s incorporation of AI will further propel the Aegis program forward to outpace ever-evolving threats.