A concept has been defined for an automatic system to manage the self-defense of a combat aircraft. Distinctive new features of this concept include:
a. the flexible prioritization of tasks and coordinated use of sensor, countermeasures, flight systems and weapons assets by means of an automated planning function;
b. the integration of state-of-the-art data fusion algorithms with event prediction processing;
c. the use of advanced Artificial Intelligence tools to emulate the decision processes of tactical EW experts.
Threat Assessment functions (a) estimate threat identity, lethality and intent on the basis of multi-spectral sensor data, and (b) predict the time to critical events in threat engagements (e.g., target acquisition, tracking, weapon launch, impact). Response Management functions (a) select candidate responses to reported threat situations; (b) estimate the effects of candidate actions on survival; and (c) coordinate the assignment of sensors, weapons and countermeasures with the flight plan. The system employs Finite State Models to represent current engagements and to predict subsequent events. Each state in a model is associated with a set of observable features, allowing interpretation of sensor data and adaptive use of sensor assets. Defined conditions on state transitions allow prediction of times to critical future states and are used in planning self-defensive responses, which are designed either to impede a particular state transition or to force a transition to a lower threat state.