What is the true potential of artificial intelligence (AI)? How achievable, really, is the vision of an AI-enhanced future—and how quickly might we reach it? How can AI enable and transform government missions? These are the questions that occupied the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Air Combat Command’s Federal Laboratory, led by the Lab’s director, Major Raymond Tierney.
The U-2 Federal Lab’s mission is ambitious: to fast-field advanced technologies at a speed relevant to the warfighter. To achieve this goal, the Lab brings Booz Allen developers together with USAF personnel—the warfighters—who collaboratively brought this concept into reality. The team’s high level of integration is essential in enabling the Lab to produce at the speed of today’s national security demands.
This confluence of operator and developer was tested—and verified—on a critical project. In 5 weeks, the Lab successfully demonstrated the potential to operationalize AI, putting a proof-of-concept AI algorithm onboard a Lockheed U-2 aircraft (nicknamed “Dragon Lady”) for a training flight. The result: a novel conceptual integration of human-machine teaming on a notional and complex national security mission.