Thanks to artificial intelligence, Thales will increase the efficiency of Rafale's TALIOS airframe tenfold

On March 28, Thales Group, a French specialist in defense electronics, announced the creation of a new entity called “cortAIx”, it will gather all its skills dedicated to artificial intelligence. [IA] in order to provide “armed forces, aircraft manufacturers and all critical infrastructure operators with high-security solutions by giving them greater efficiency in data analysis and decision-making, while taking into account specific constraints such as cyber security, integration and austerity, in critical environments”.

“Thales has been, for a decade, a major player in reliable, transparent, explainable and ethical artificial intelligence. The Group is at the top in Europe in the ranking of patent applicants in artificial intelligence for critical systems. It integrates artificial intelligence into more than a hundred of its products and services,” the industrialist further reminded.

In detail, the cortAIx structure will be organized according to three poles. Thus, located in Saclay, the cortAIx Lab will be “the most powerful integrated laboratory in the field of critical artificial intelligence in Europe”. His research work will be used by the cortAIx Factory, Thales' “technology” factory dedicated to artificial intelligence. This will be tasked with accelerating “the certification and industrialization of AI development tools and use cases for system data.”

“Thales is already equipping its systems with artificial intelligence and continues to identify new use cases to accelerate performance, such as mission planning, air traffic management, drone and robot navigation,” the team said.

Finally, the third segment, called CortAIx Sensors, will focus on integrating AI algorithms into sensors developed by Thales. [sonars, radars, optronique, etc]. The goal is to “enhance” their capabilities, either in terms of threat perception and identification and targets.

To show what artificial intelligence can do in this area, Thales took the example of the Talios nacelle [pour Targeting long-range Identification Optronic System / Système optronique d’identification et de ciblage à longue distance]which makes it possible to detect and track moving targets of any size, day or night, thanks to high-resolution electro-optical and infrared sensors.

In November 2022 the General Directorate of Equipment [DGA] had said it had just delivered to the Air Force and Space Force a TALIOS airframe enhanced with “two new capabilities,” including a “wide-field visible color sensor” and a new data link that allows “the transmission of video and metadata to troops on the ground in order to improve business coordination”.

However, according to Thales, the artificial intelligence that will be integrated into the TALIOS shuttle will allow us to go even further by speeding up “target search in air support missions, thus saving valuable crew time. »

“The AI ​​built into the sensor analyzes images in real time and provides the location of detected targets 100 times faster than manual search. The display of detected targets allows the crew to confirm their identity and decide to engage in combat. The AI ​​acts as an assistant to the pilot, who has the final decision to open fire,” explains the industrialist.

He added: “The AI ​​built into the Talios pod meets the requirements of frugality in terms of computing power. It is the result of research work of the Thales AI laboratory, which
developed the Thales Neural Processor', i.e. a 'cockpit-tailored' human-machine interface.

These advances in artificial intelligence will be incorporated into the Rafale F4.3 standard.

It should be noted that, for the Rafale F5, the development of which is provided for by the Military Planning Law [LPM] 2024-30, there is talk of merging TALIOS and RECO NG nacelles, the studies assigned to Thales LAS as part of the “Pod TR” project.

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