Airbus Defence and Space GmbH, Quantum-Systems GmbH, and Spleenlab GmbH have been awarded a research project by the Planning Office of the German Armed Forces. The project, named KITU 2 (Künstliche Intelligenz für taktische UAS; Artificial Intelligence for tactical UAS), is supported by the German Ministry of Defence and aims to demonstrate and analyze the AI building blocks necessary for swarms of tactical unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in a real-world setting. The focus of the project is to assess the effectiveness of tactical UAS. Each company involved in the partnership brings its unique strengths, allowing for a collaborative effort to leverage its expertise.

Airbus Defense and Space will contribute with trusted swarming algorithms, simulation environments, experimental hardware, and required AI building blocks.

Quantum Systems provides the battle-proven Vector 2-in-1 tactical aerial reconnaissance platform with built-in AI edge-computing capabilities. The 2-in-1 platform enables heterogeneous swarms, as it can be deployed as a fixed-wing eVTOL Vector or as the multi-copter Scorpion UAS. It can showcase challenging and real-life missions with its flight endurance of three hours. Currently, Quantum Systems is working on a family of systems strategy that will see their smaller and bigger platforms enter the market in 2024 and 2025 and provide customers with a seamless layered approach regarding range, flight time, and payload capabilities.

Spleenlab adds expertise in AI edge software for swarming, which involves object recognition and robust navigation methods in communication-denied environments.

Additional programs benefit from the research results and small unmanned aircraft vehicles.

In France and Germany’s joint Main Ground Combat Systems (MGCS) program, ongoing since 2018, both countries are working on a new weapon system to expand the defensive and offensive capabilities of main battle tanks on the battlefield by integrating next-generation technology and multiple platforms.

What is a swarm? See- Defining the Swarm

In the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) program, France, Germany, and Spain are developing a system of manned new-generation fighters, unmanned aircraft, and new weapons and communications systems.

Both programs aim to bring multi-platform and multi-vehicle swarming to the battlefield and will benefit from the outcome of the KITU 2 program. Swarming enables force multiplication by controlling multiple UASs with a reduced ground or aircrew. In addition, first studies from the ongoing war in Ukraine have shown that multiple smaller and lower-cost UASs might be more effective at delivering aerial reconnaissance results from the battlefield, as larger areas can be covered simultaneously, and losses can be mitigated more easily.

Other C-UAS Hub Swarm references:

Swarm-based Counter-UAV defense system

Defensive swarm: an agent-based modeling analysis

Trade-off Analysis of Large-Scale Swarm Engagements

Post Image- Quantum Systems-Airbus-Spleenlab Graphic (Image Credit: Spleenlab)