Digital transformation – and the ability to apply innovative commercial technologies such as AI for national defense – is clearly at the top of the defense industry’s agenda.
Leaders of the defense and aerospace industries converged at the Air Force Association’s 34th Annual Air Warfare Symposium & Technology Exposition, held this week in Orlando, FL. C3.ai had a significant presence, demonstrating how disruptive new technologies – big data, predictive analytics, AI, and IoT – can dramatically improve military readiness and mission effectiveness. Other notable attendees included the Secretary of the Air Force, Chief of Staff, two- and three-star generals, and senior leaders from Lockheed, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman.
There was heavy interest in the successful collaboration between the U.S. Air Force, C3.ai, AFWERX, and DIUx to rapidly acquire and make available commercial, cutting-edge solutions for the U.S. military.
The U.S. Air Force is working with C3.ai to implement a new AI-based aircraft predictive maintenance solution that proactively identifies when to optimally service and replace aircraft components, thereby reducing unscheduled and unnecessary maintenance, improving personnel productivity and global replacement part inventory levels, and increasing aircraft availability. All of these together improve safety and mission readiness.
The C3 Predictive Maintenance application was validated in a matter of weeks for the first aircraft platform, the E-3 Sentry (AWACS), and extensions are under way for the C-5 Galaxy and F-16 Fighting Falcon.
C3.ai President and CTO Ed Abbo recently told Bloomberg Government that “based on initial results, we think we can improve aircraft availability by at least 25 percent.” Abbo continued, “When you think about the fact that the Pentagon spends 30 to 40 percent of its budget on operations and maintenance, even a 1 percent gain in efficiency could save billions.”