(Image courtesy: Airbus Defence and Space)

ANSYS will help Airbus develop AI-enabled flight controls for the FCAS program’s autonomous wingmen

SAE International’s Pittsburgh-area neighbor, ANSYS, will be contributing to Europe’s next generation air-superiority architecture.

Airbus Defence and Space, a division of Airbus SE, is partnering with Pittsburgh-based ANSYS, Inc. to develop software for advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as part of France and Germany’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS) program. The collaboration is geared towards enabling safety-critical flight controls with sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) for the program’s rollout in 2030. 

Originally proposed at the 2018 Internationale Luft- und Raumfahrtausstellung (ILA) Berlin Air Show, the systems-of-systems FCAS architecture includes new sixth-generation Next Generation Fighter (NGF) that will serve as a hub or nucleus for multiple cloud-linked UAV or “remote carrier” wingmen.



While Airbus has been investing in manned-unmanned teaming (MUT) research and development and successfully validated its MUT capabilities, developing these platforms creates a huge engineering challenge as advanced, safety-critical, AI-driven flight control software will be required to perform highly sophisticated decision making with unprecedented speed and accuracy. ANSYS will add an embedded layer of software control for the remote carrier wingmen aircraft.


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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.

Contact him regarding any article or collaboration ideas by e-mail at william.kucinski@sae.org.

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