US Air Force Employs AI to Improve Weather Tracking Models to Assist Military Planning

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The United States Air Force is currently utilizing augmenting modern weather prediction tools with new artificial intelligence in order to improve their understanding of various environmental conditions in places where the US military might plan to go in the near future.

 On June 14, Deputy Chief Information Officer Winston Beauchamp told the UiPath TOGETHER Public Sector conference that technology currently in use is actually improving the ability to forecast and analyze planning and dispatch operations. Specifically, he said, that AI has augmented analysis of weather models to provide more accurate data that we cannot receive using ground-based sensors.  From these extrapolated data points they can formulate more accurate weather pattern predictions all over the world.

This is an important development, of course, because inclement weather can dramatically impact military operations; much more than in the civilian world.  Miscalculating the amount of rains or failing to anticipate extreme heat, for example, can result in disaster.  As such, outdated weather models or lackluster collection efforts must be corrected as soon as possible.

Obviously, then, climate change is of major concern to the US military.  In fact, US President Joe Biden considers this variable to be an imperative national security objective since it continues to complicate military operations.

According to Beauchamp, “We don’t always remember that weather is a really important thing in military operations, and it doesn’t always use the same data that our civilian weather forecasters use.  When planning military operations, the weather can be a huge determiner of success or failure.”

To help move this initiative forward, the US Air Force awarded the Boston-based company a $19.3 million contract in 2021. This funding will help to support radar-equipped weather satellite deployment as well as a field they have called “weather intelligence”.