Artificial intelligence controls an F-16 VISTA fighter jet for more than 17 hours

By: Maksim Panasovskyi | 14.02.2023, 16:00
Artificial intelligence controls an F-16 VISTA fighter jet for more than 17 hours

At the end of December 2022, Lockheed Martin tested an artificial intelligence system to control its F-16 fighter jet. We had a separate story about it, but now there are new details.

Here's What We Know

The company has developed a trainer aircraft to test the feasibility of controlling the aircraft with artificial intelligence. And it's the only one of its kind. It's called the F-16 VISTA X-62A. It is based on the fourth generation fighter F-16D Block 30 Peace Marble II, equipped with avionics of Block 40 level.

It was originally designated NF-16D, but was later renamed VISTA (Variable In-flight Simulation Test Aircraft). In the early summer of 2021, the trainer aircraft was declared a United States National Treasure.


VISTA is built on an open systems architecture, and the software gives the platform the ability to simulate the flight performance of other aircraft. It allows for parallel development and testing of advanced artificial intelligence systems and new drones.

The latest update for VISTA brings a new simulation system (VSS) developed by Casplan. Lockheed Martin created a new model following algorithm (MFA). The update also added an Autonomous Simulation Control System (SACS). The integration of MFA and SACS enables the use of a training aircraft for experiments with a focus on unmanned operations and artificial intelligence. SACS is based on the Enterprise-wide Open Systems Architecture (E-OSA). It is used in the Enterprise Mission Computer version 2 (EMC2), called the Einstein Box.

The December test was the first time that artificial intelligence had been used as a pilot of a tactical aircraft. The algorithms were able to successfully fly the VISTA X-62A for more than 17 hours.

Source: Lockheed Martin