Military all over the world are looking to integrate modern technology into their military weapons. China, as usual, appears to be making a serious effort to prepare for the future battlefield, this time, with plans to include artificial intelligence and high-speed features in its future choppers.
During a recent public lecture, a prominent Chinese military helicopter designer revealed the potential essential features of future choppers, namely high speeds and artificial intelligence (AI), the Global Times reported.
This gives a look at the potential of the country’s next generation helicopter, which may have completely new designs and arrangements.
The report highlights the US projects and notes: “The world has taken concrete steps in the development and use of high-speed rotor craft, with the United States commissioning the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft and performing test flights for S-97 Raider and SB-1 Defiant helicopters.”
With this, Wu Ximing, Vice President of the Chinese Aviation Company, stated on Sunday during a lecture organized by the China Science and Technology Museum that in 10 years, it will be the standard for helicopters, or rotor craft in general, to have high speeds.
The new helicopters will differ significantly from the usual configuration of previous helicopters. This includes those designed to exceed the conventional design’s physical speed limit of about 300 kilometers per hour, according to Wu, who is also the chief designer of the Z-10, the Chinese military’s main combat helicopter.
To achieve high speeds while maintaining vertical takeoff and landing capacity, helicopter designers will have to experiment and innovate, according to Wu. He went on to propose a general time limit of 10 years for most helicopters to achieve high speed.
According to reports, China’s helicopter manufacturers have performed test flights for at least two types of helicopters with new designs: one is a multi-rotor vertical take-off and landing aircraft with mixed wings, while Other things is a helicopter with a completely innovative design.
Will AI make PLAs future choppers more deadly?
The incorporation of AI into the helicopter of the future means that a digital helmet or screen can replace the helicopter’s control handle, as AI can understand voice commands from the pilot.
According to Wu, it can also make recommendations on flight paths and even make independent assessments in difficult situations or complex missions. “Intelligent technologies will greatly reduce the pilot’s workload by flying the chopper.”
AI will allow for an intelligent flight of a single helicopter, coordinated flight of multiple helicopters and completion of autonomous missions.
With the rapid growth of communication technologies such as 5G and 6G, it is possible that the helicopter may be able to achieve more computing capacity from terrestrial devices via a network. This can also improve the aircraft’s capacity and efficiency.
“The use of artificial intelligence will apply not only to helicopters but also to aircraft in general, including fighter jets,” a Chinese defense expert told the Global Times.
Another future direction for helicopters is the emergence of drones that do not cause deaths. They are not limited by the physical limitations of human pilots and, according to Wu, can be used in difficult locations while costing less and providing more survivability.
Miniature drone helicopters are also a potential choice for tactical reconnaissance missions because they are easy to transport and can break enemy defenses silently. E.g Hummingbirda compact reconnaissance drone aircraft created by China, is about 17 cm long and weighs only 35 kilos.
America’s Quest To Integrate AI
Artificial intelligence is a major emphasis for the U.S. military, which expects it to change future combat. The complexity of modern warfare also forces the U.S. military to consider how technology can upgrade existing assets, such as helicopters, to enable them to perform previously unimaginable tasks.
“We’ll have to change the way we fight. We’ll have to change some of the equipment we use, and we’ll have to retrain our people so they can start thinking about that fight. they have in the future, “said General James McConville, chief of the U.S. Army. Staff, said during his confirmation hearing on May 2, 2019.
According to to the United States Army in Multi-Domain Operations, 2028, these upgrades include next-generation helicopters capable of much more than current models, as well as support systems that “can operate in a highly controversial operational environment that is not easily isolated from the rest. by the Joint Force or partners, and can perform independent maneuvers. ”
The Army’s current fleet of helicopters is in some cases almost 50 years old. The next generation of these aircraft, according to U.S. military leaders, must be faster, more manoeuvrable, deadly and technologically sophisticated, including the capacity to work with autonomous aircraft.
The tests in this regard were recent done of the U.S. military. The first autonomous flight took place on February 5, 2022 over Fort Campbell, Kentucky, followed by a second flight on February 7. AI operated the chopper for 30 minutes without a person on board the first trip.
In addition to this program, several additional projects are underway. The U.S. Air Force appears to be reshaping itself in preparation for future fighting, particularly against China. As the focus on Indo-Pacific grows, new technologies like these will help Washington complete operations in a more efficient and timely manner.