During World War II, Spitfire pilots described their planes as so responsive that they felt like extensions of their limbs. In the 2030s, pilots will develop a closer relationship with their fighter jets. At that time, the fighter will complete the pilot's "mind reading" and the gatekeeping of intelligence.

Mind Reading Technology:

The Tempest jet was developed by BAE Systems in the UK, Rolls-Royce, Euromissile Group, MDBA and Leonardo in Italy. It features artificial intelligence to assist pilots when they are overwhelmed or under extreme stress.

Sensors in the pilot's helmet will monitor brain signals and other medical data. Thus, in continuous flight, the AI will accumulate a huge database of biometric and psychological information. This library of pilot signatures means that if sensors show they need help, the onboard AI will step in and help. For example, if a pilot loses consciousness due to high gravity, artificial intelligence can take over the mission.

"We have to deal with the pace of technological change," said John Stocker, TempestJet's director of business development. "In the past, the defense military drove technological progress, and now, commercial technologies tend to be more advanced."

Mr Stock envisions a future where new fighter jets can be upgraded as easily as downloading an app on a smartphone. At the same time, much of the manufacturing of jets will be automated. Robots on the production line will share data with suppliers, allowing for quick adjustment of parts.

Intelligence Gatekeeper:

The idea of radar scanning forward and reflecting signals from approaching objects has fallen short of digital inspection of sensor data. However, sensors pick up too much detail for the human brain to fully and thoroughly analyze, which makes artificial intelligence critical in analyzing and processing the flood of data.

In Tempest jets, AI acts as a gatekeeper, preventing pilots from being overwhelmed by incoming intelligence. The missile may be launched from the Tempest jet but handed over to one of its robotic aids to be redirected to a more urgent target.

All of these actions will rely on an all-new engine. Rolls-Royce needed to power not only the flight of the Tempest jet, but its entire complex digital system. On a fighter jet, processing data to heat up the plane can feel like an overburdened laptop. "We want to power every aspect of the system," said Rolls-Royce future project director John Wardle.


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