CHINESE fighter pilots have been going up against aircraft piloted by artificial intelligence that fare “better than humans” and can shoot them down in simulated dogfights.
The Air Force has been testing out AI systems that have been “sharpening the sword” for the country’s pilots, Chinese media reported.
A People’s Liberation Army Air Force brigade flight team leader and recognized fighter ace, Fang Guoyu, was recently “shot down” by one of the advanced aircraft.
The AI adversary proved triumphant during an air-to-air combat simulation, according to the Chinese military’s official newspaper, PLA Daily.
Guoyo explained that although it was easy to defeat the AI aircraft in the early stages of training, the AI learned from its human opponent with each battle.
After showing off his flying skills and winning one round of combat, the AI returned with a vengeance – using the same technique Guoyo just had and defeating him.
“It’s like a digital ‘Golden Helmet’ pilot that excels at learning, assimilating, reviewing, and researching,” Fang said, suggesting his technology-driven rival is similar to the extraordinary pilots who are successful in the “Golden Helmet” air combat contests.
“The move with which you defeated it today will be in its hands tomorrow.”
Brigade commander Du Jianfeng told the publication that aircraft piloted by artificial intelligence are increasingly being integrated into training.
He praised its “skill at handling the aircraft and makes flawless tactical decisions”.
Jianfeng also dubbed the AI adversary a powerful aid for “sharpening the sword” of Chinese pilots, as it forces them to become more innovative with their technique.
It is the latest step in China’s mission to establish a modern flying force that has the ability to fight and win battles in the skies.
They have already displayed a major show of force of missiles carried by its J-20 stealth fighter jets back in 2018.
The warplanes from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force took part in a flypast at the grand finale to a six-day airshow in Zhuhai.
In a first for the state-of-the-art jets, the missile bay doors were opened during the stunt to reveal a stash in each plane of four missiles in its fuselage and one on either side.
Top Chinese officials, according to the Global Times, said the demonstration displayed the J-20’s superiority to the top US fighter jets, the F-22 and F-35.
In a post on the PLA’s website, Chinese military expert Song Zongping said the J-20 will “engage with rivals in the future who dare to provoke China in the air.”
It was claimed earlier this year that China’s plans to build the world’s most powerful military are being inadvertently aided by “breathtakingly naive” British academics.
Research into radar jamming, shipbuilding, drones, advanced materials, and artificial intelligence is among the research that has been sponsored by Chinese institutions in the UK, a report from think tank Civitas warned.
Much of the research has civilian purpose but UK researchers appear unaware it could also have a dual use for the military and many of the studies are also being sponsored by the UK taxpayer through research councils, such as Innovate UK and the Royal Society.
A Manchester University researcher from the PRC investigated ceramic coatings for hypersonic vehicles with a major military laboratory at China’s Central South University, says the report.
The coatings allow missiles to withstand the extraordinarily high temperatures of up to 3000C the missiles are subjected to in flight.
At Imperial College London, research has been carried out into materials to help China build its own stealth fighter engines.
And a Southampton University researcher has worked on large floating structures that can launch aircraft allowing sea and air power projection.
Robert Clark, a defence fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, one of the study’s authors, told The Sun Online “It’s a case of simple naivety in the case of a lot of these universities.
“But it’s breathtaking in its nature. The Chinese find it incredibly easy.”