Helsing is part of the HIS consortium developing the AI backbone for the European Future Combat Air System (FCAS). Helsing operates alongside Schonhofer Sales and Engineering GmbH and IBM Germany. The FCAS initiative aims to integrate a new generation of manned fighters with a network of unmanned systems and highly connected aircraft. Helsing’s role is pivotal in providing the AI development infrastructure that will reduce pilot workload and enhance the operational capability of remote carriers and munitions. SS&E has expertise in real-time situational awareness, analytics, AI, and management of complex data and data formats, while IBM will provide secure cloud technologies for the program.

The AI backbone is not just a singular system but a foundational technology supporting the air force’s cross-functional capabilities with AI. The AI backbone will integrate distributed ‘edge AI’ capabilities embedded in each FCAS member, where data is collected, shared across the secure cloud, and orchestrated by AI algorithms to distribute a common operating picture and actionable decisions and commands to all players across the network. This proximity to data sources enables rapid, real-time analytics and decision-making, crucial for modern warfare where speed is a tactical advantage.

The AI backbone will also contribute to the Next Generation Weapons System National Research and Technology project, the 6th Generation air platform, part of the broader FCAS program. This project aims to develop technologies to give the German Air Force and its European partners an edge in AI capabilities.