Florence Parly Presents Artificial Intelligence Plan, A Major Innovation Axis of the Ministry of the Armed Forces
(Source: French Armed Forces Ministry; issued March 16, 2019)
(Issued in French; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
PARIS --- Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly in Friday, March 16 presented her Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Innovation Roadmap, at a ceremony marking the launch of the Man-Machine Teaming (MMT) study which aims to develop artificial intelligence for combat aviation.

IA announces a new phase of the digital revolution and the Armed Forces Minister wants the department to fully seize all opportunities. Identified by the mission of Cédric Villani as a priority sector for public investment in artificial intelligence, defense conceals a great variety of potential applications of AI: automatic image recognition, electronic warfare, collaborative combat, navigation autonomous robots, cybersecurity, predictive maintenance, decision and command support, etc.

Florence Parly unveiled a comprehensive action plan. An increased technological watch will be ensured by the "Innovation Defense Lab", the new hub of defense innovation open to the ecosystem of startups, which will be inaugurated this year.

Florence Parly announced that the Armed Forces Ministry intended to give all the financial and human means to secure AI. The minister has announced the recruitment of about fifty additional experts in data science and AI, and the progressive investment of 100 million euros per year in the field of artificial intelligence.

In concrete terms, the ARTEMIS Innovation Partnership contract, awarded in November 2017, will, for example, provide a mass storage and data processing infrastructure adapted to defense needs. Finally, many studies and researches for operational applications of AI will be launched, taking advantage of the increase to 1 billion euros per year of the Armed Forces Ministry’s studies and innovation budget, as earmarked in the 2019-2025 military program law.

The MMT project presented today to the Armed Forces Minister by the DGA and the industrialists Dassault Aviation and Thales is part of this roadmap.

It consists in improving combat aviation by bringing reactivity and help to the decision-making of the airmen and the operators thanks to AI. This project will be innovative in its method since the DGA, Dassault Aviation and Thales will be surrounded from the beginning of the project by the skills and inventiveness of SMEs and French laboratories working on civil applications of AI.

Florence Parly also pointed out that innovation was an absolute necessity for the strategic superiority of our military forces, and that it was one of the major axes of the 2019-2025 military programme law. The Minister reaffirmed her commitment to strong links between the Ministry of the Armed Forces and civilian economy and research. She called on everyone to work together and to be bold and to take the initiative.

Florence Parly has announced the creation of a Defense Innovation Agency within the Ministry of the Armed Forces. This agency will be open to the civil economy, to start-ups, turned towards Europe and will allow the development of innovative defense projects.


Launch of the Man Machine Teaming Advanced Study Programme
(Source: Dassault Aviation; issued March 16, 2018)
SAINT-CLOUD, France --- Today, Eric Trappier, Chairman & CEO of Dassault Aviation, and Patrice Caine, Chairman & CEO of Thales, received French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, and Joël Barre, Delegate General for Armament, at Dassault Aviation’s headquarters in Saint-Cloud.

Florence Parly was shown some of the concepts on which the “Man-Machine-Teaming” advanced study programme (PEA MMT) is based. This design plan, awarded to Dassault Aviation (lead) and Thales (co-contractor) by the French defense procurement agency DGA, aims to develop the necessary Artificial Intelligence technologies for combat aviation of the future.

During her visit, the Minister of the Armed Forces was particularly able to see the “cognitive air system” concept, which is based on more autonomous functions onboard aircraft and on a Man/Machine relationship in which the human element is constantly maintained in the decision loop.

Florence Parly also met representatives of about a hundred French start-ups, SMEs, laboratories and research centers specialised in Artificial Intelligence, robotics and new Man/Machine interfaces. This ecosystem will be involved in the PEA, in partnership with Dassault Aviation and Thales, to develop cutting-edge algorithms and propose disruptive solutions.

Dassault Aviation and Thales thank the Ministry of the Armed Forces for its trust in such a highly strategic field. They are delighted to federate France’s world-class Artificial Intelligence ecosystem around military aviation challenges.

The Man-Machine-Teaming advanced study programme was notified to the companies by the DGA in January 2018. It will take place over three years and will involve Dassault Aviation (lead contractor, air combat system) and Thales (co-contractor, Human/System interface and sensors).

MMT aims, inter alia, to:
-- Define future cockpits and independent systems.
-- Improve innovative technologies in Man/Machine teaming within the cognitive air system, particularly decision-making autonomy and machine learning.
-- Enhance concepts and technologies in the field of smart / learning sensors.

With over 10,000 military and civil aircraft delivered in more than 90 countries over the last century, Dassault Aviation has built up expertise recognized worldwide in the design, development, sale and support of all types of aircraft, ranging from the Rafale fighter, to the high-end Falcon family of business jets and military drones. In 2017, Dassault Aviation reported revenues of €4.8 billion. The company has 12,000 employees.

Combining a unique diversity of expertise, talents and cultures, our architects design and deliver extraordinary high technology solutions. Solutions that make tomorrow possible, today. From the bottom of the oceans to the depths of space and cyberspace, we help our customers think smarter and act faster – mastering ever greater complexity and every decisive moment along the way. With 65,000 employees in 56 countries, Thales reported sales of €15.8 billion in 2017.


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