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Navy finds perfect wingman for carrier pilots – AI

Move over, Maverick. AI software can land a plane on a carrier deck better than you.  

Over 5,000 men and women crew each of America’s 11 aircraft carriers, but the U.S. Navy’s counting on AI to help them fight China. AI will bring carrier planes in for landings, fly unmanned tankers with fuel for combat planes, and even analyze the bug juice in the chow line.  

Night carrier landings are dangerous feats of combat aviation. Americans think of the “Top Gun” movies starring Tom Cruise as Maverick, an intrepid Navy pilot who can land a 32,000-lb. F/A-18EF Superhornet on a 90,000-ton aircraft carrier in night, rain, wind and pitching seas.  

AI will help the Navy supply corps manage the flow of food from ice cream to the famous “bug juice,” a fruit-flavored alternative to coffee and water often served aboard the carriers. (Lemon lime when I tasted it aboard USS Nimitz in San Diego years ago.)  

Yes, the U.S. Navy will need every advantage to face down China in the Pacific. If it takes AI to flow the bug juice, get fuel to strike aircraft and bring the aircrews back aboard the carrier safely, I say full steam ahead.  


Rebecca Grant is President of IRIS Independent Research and a Visiting Fellow of the Lexington Institute.


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