Boeing signs MOU to integrate AI in Aerospace and Defense

May 19, 2023

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A couple of months ago, Boeing signed an MOU at the Air Force Association (AFA) Warfare Symposium with Shield AI – a California based tech company which develops artificial intelligence-powered fighter pilots, drones, and technology for defense operations. Its clients include the U.S. Department of Defense and allied militaries/civil services[2] [3].

This is a definitive tipping point where major aerospace players are adopting the powers of AI to improve their capabilities and offerings. MarketsandMarkets' analysts estimate that the global digital battlefield market is expected to grow from USD 43.2 billion in 2022 to USD 154.1 billion by 2030, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.2%. They also estimate that the global 5G in Defense Market is estimated to grow from $946 million by 2023 to $2,487 million by 2027 at a CAGR of 30.2%. Our editors welcome the news of Boeing and Shield AI's MOU and share their views.

Generative Pretrained Transformers in Aerospace and Defense

The aerospace industry, a sector that develops and produces aircraft and spacecraft, has a rich history marked by continuous innovation and growth. Despite numerous challenges, the industry's long-term growth rate has consistently hovered around 5% annually. Its resilience can be attributed to technological advancements, global demand, and the sector's capacity to adapt and innovate.

The GPT-4, an advanced version of OpenAI's Generative Pretrained Transformers series, exemplifies the cutting-edge possibilities of generative AI. It's a large-scale transformer-based language model that can generate impressively human-like text based on the input it's given. GPT-4 uses a method called transformer learning, which understands the context of words and sentences, allowing it to generate coherent and contextually relevant responses. This technology is used in a wide range of applications, from chatbots to content creation, trend prediction, and even coding.

In the context of the aerospace industry, generative AI is making significant strides, especially in image and video generation. For instance, it can be used to create detailed and accurate 3D models of aircraft parts, helping engineers and designers in the manufacturing process. This enables faster prototyping, better quality control, and potentially reduced production costs.

Moreover, generative AI can be employed in the creation of virtual reality training simulations for pilots and crew members, thereby enhancing safety and proficiency. These simulations can replicate real-life scenarios and environments, providing a hands-on experience without the associated risks or costs.

Furthermore, generative AI has potential in predictive maintenance, using data to generate simulations of potential future breakdowns. These predictive models allow for preemptive repairs, increasing the operational lifespan of aircraft, and potentially saving millions in repair and downtime costs.

Generative AI is indeed a transformative tool in the aerospace industry, unlocking new possibilities for innovation and efficiency.

Aerospace market size that can be impacted

The aerospace industry is a vast global market, ripe for transformation by generative AI. It's anticipated to reach $430.87 billion by 2025, according to MarketsandMarkets. This includes both the commercial aviation sector and the defense sector, with emerging markets like China and India presenting significant growth opportunities. Furthermore, technology-driven trends, like the rise of low-cost carriers and expansion into more international markets, suggest a market primed for AI's impact. The integration of generative AI into this landscape stands to influence everything from aircraft manufacturing and maintenance to cargo transportation and defense systems, promising a profound effect on this burgeoning market.

Major Offerings in Aerospace

Below are the major offerings from some of the top companies operating in various sub-categories of aerospace and defense:

  1. Northrop Grumman Corporation: Provides advanced aircraft flight control systems, autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and embedded systems for military use.
  2. Lockheed Martin Corporation: Offers state-of-the-art aircraft flight control systems, defense and surveillance UAVs, and advanced military embedded systems.
  3. The Boeing Company: Specializes in commercial aviation, military aircraft, and UAVs.
  4. Raytheon Technologies Corporation: Develops advanced defense systems, including UAV technology, flight control systems, and military embedded systems.
  5. General Dynamics Corporation: Provides a wide range of defense systems, including UAVs and military embedded systems.
  6. BAE Systems: Offers flight control systems, military embedded systems, and UAVs for defense purposes.
  7. Thales Group: Specializes in flight control systems, military embedded systems, and UAV technology.
  8. Leonardo S.p.A.: Provides advanced aircraft flight control systems and military embedded systems.
  9. Saab AB: Offers military embedded systems, aircraft flight control systems, and UAVs for defense.
  10. Airbus SE: Known for its commercial aircraft, Airbus also offers advanced aircraft flight control systems and is making strides in the UAV market.
  11. Textron Inc.: Offers UAVs for defense and surveillance, and military embedded systems.
  12. L3Harris Technologies: Specializes in military embedded systems and UAV technology.
  13. Honeywell International Inc.: Known for its aircraft flight control systems and embedded systems.
  14. Meggitt PLC: Provides advanced aircraft flight control systems and military embedded systems.
  15. Rockwell Collins (Collins Aerospace): Offers state-of-the-art aircraft flight control systems, military embedded systems, , and has a presence in the UAV market.

Please note that these companies have a broad range of offerings beyond those listed, and they continually evolve their product and service offerings to adapt to market needs and technological advancements.

Transformative effect of Generative AI

Generative AI could have a transformative effect on the offerings of companies in the aerospace and defense sectors in various ways:

  1. Aircraft Design and Manufacturing: Generative AI can be used to create innovative aircraft designs by predicting the best shapes and materials to improve efficiency and performance. It can automate the creation of blueprints and enhance the speed and quality of production processes.
  2. Flight Control Systems: Generative AI can help improve the development of flight control systems by generating code, running simulations, and providing insights for enhancements. This can lead to safer and more reliable flight systems.
  3. Military Embedded Systems: Generative AI can optimize the development of embedded systems, improving the functionality of defense equipment and leading to more effective defense capabilities.
  4. UAVs and Small Drones: AI can assist in generating and refining UAV designs for optimized performance and can contribute to autonomous flight programming, enhancing navigational capabilities. Generative AI can also be utilized in creating effective training simulations for drone pilots.
  5. Predictive Maintenance: Generative AI can analyze data from aircraft components to predict future failures and schedule preventive maintenance, improving efficiency and reducing downtime.
  6. Defense Strategies and Training: Generative AI can be used to create realistic training simulations and predict outcomes of various defense strategies, enhancing preparedness and response times.

In essence, the application of Generative AI in these areas holds the potential to revolutionize these companies' offerings, leading to increased efficiency, improved performance, and potentially significant cost savings.

Generative AI Market Technology Roadmap (2023-2030) for Aerospace and Defense Industry

A. Short Term Technology Roadmap (2023-2025)

In the next three years, advancements in language modeling will refine AI's comprehension and generation of technical texts, aiding aerospace and defense sector processes. Enhancements in Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) will offer unprecedented image generation and anomaly detection capabilities, significantly bolstering defense systems.

B. Mid-term Technology Roadmap (2026-2028)

Within this period, breakthroughs in meta-learning and few-shot learning techniques will facilitate rapid adaptation to novel tasks, optimizing efficiency in the aerospace and defense industries. AI systems capable of learning from multi-modal data will be developed, streamlining data synthesis and decision-making processes in these sectors.

C. Long Term Technology Roadmap (2029-2030)

As we approach 2030, fully autonomous generative AI systems are expected to emerge, revolutionizing the aerospace and defense industry by enabling highly sophisticated, autonomous operations. The incorporation of generative AI will dramatically increase, heralding a new era of innovation and efficiency within these sectors.

In conclusion, the aerospace industry stands at the precipice of a significant transformation powered by generative AI. This revolutionary technology, pioneered by organizations like OpenAI, is poised to redefine the contours of aircraft manufacturing, military embedded systems, UAVs, and more. With its ability to generate novel content, anticipate trends, and automate complex tasks, generative AI is set to make inroads into the industry's core operational areas, from design to maintenance to strategic planning. As companies adapt to this changing landscape, their offerings will evolve, leading to enhanced efficiency, improved performance, and potentially significant cost savings. The market, expected to reach $430.87 billion by 2025, stands to witness profound shifts. The advent of generative AI is not just an incremental step in the industry's progress; it signals a paradigm shift that could redefine the future of aerospace. Amidst this technological sea change, companies poised to leverage this power will be at the vanguard of the industry's next wave of innovation.

Refence Limk

[1] - Boeing Media Room

[2] - Shield AI - Wikipedia

[3] For more information, visit

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