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DARPA awards BAE Systems development deal for AI-enhanced battle management tools

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected a BAE Systems-led team to develop a new battle management application for US armed forces, designed to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to consolidate and co-ordinate multi-domain combat assets into a single command picture.

Currently in phase one of development, the Multi-domain Adaptive Request Service (MARS) software and application tool will eschew “manual processes to assess availability and coordinate use of sensors, communications, weapons, and other assets across domains” and transition them into an AI-enhanced system, according to a BAE Systems statement.

Developed in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University, phase one of the MARS programme is slated to last 12 months at an expected cost of USD3.1 million, said Chris Eisenbies, product line director at BAE Systems.

“This was an important win for us, because we want to scale how autonomy is brought into meeting [the armed forces'] needs. And by scale, I mean scaling to complexity, scaling across domains. You are scaling, in effect, the demands of time and the numbers of entities you are trying to coordinate and helping the [commanders] through all of that,” he told Jane’s during a 4 December interview.

To scale the complex and demanding requirements of combat, the AI-enhanced software MARS programmers are working on is designed to automatically identify all support and sensor assets available to a combat commander, regardless of domain. The software programme will also be capable of “rapidly assessing the costs and benefits” tied to the employment of a given asset during the mission planning process though a visual interface on the MARS application, Eisenbies said.

BAE Systems’ new AI-enabled MARS battlefield management tool hopes to automatically identify all combat assets across domains and provide cost-benefit analysis for all options  (Credit: BAE Systems )

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