RNAS Yeovilton engineers using AI to help with maintenance

Picture of Wildcat helicopter in hanger
An AI tool is helping with maintenance of some of the Wildcat helicopter fleet

A naval base in Somerset is among the first to use artificial intelligence to help prepare for missions.

RNAS Yeovilton engineers have started using an AI tool to help maintenance of some of the Wildcat helicopter fleet.

It simulates when parts and modifications could become faulty so engineers are ready to replace them.

Chief Petty Officer Andrew Ireson, Wildcat Maritime Force HQ Engineer, said: "The AI tool will help highlight any potential failures on missions.

"We can then be prepared with spare parts to repair the helicopter on long missions at really short notice."

The announcement comes in the week Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is hosting the AI Summit at Bletchley Park.

Man stood in front of helicopter
Chief Petty Officer Andrew Ireson said AI will help with detecting problems on the Wildcat helicopters

Minister for Defence Procurement James Cartlidge visited RNAS Yeovilton, where he discussed how AI can help the UK's defence structure.

He said: "AI has conjured up this fearful vision for people.

"It's probably because of Hollywood movies like Terminator that make you think you'll have some robot that can do whatever it wants - that's a long way off.

"Our adversaries will be using AI so we must address the opportunities to use it."

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