Airbus and Helsing Partner Up to Pioneer AI Integration in Manned and Unmanned Military Aircraft

  • Airbus and Helsing sign a framework cooperation agreement at ILA aerospace trade show.
  • Collaboration focuses on AI technologies for the Wingman system, enhancing manned-unmanned teaming in military aircraft.
  • Airbus introduces Wingman concept to augment capabilities of manned combat aircraft with unmanned platforms.
  • AI integration crucial for autonomy in hazardous unmanned missions, according to CEOs of both companies.
  • Airbus to leverage expertise in Manned-Unmanned Teaming, Helsing to contribute AI stack for mission capabilities.

Main AI News:

In a landmark collaboration, Airbus Defence and Space and Helsing, the premier defense AI and software firm in Europe, have inked a comprehensive framework agreement at the prestigious ILA aerospace trade exhibition held in Berlin. This strategic partnership aims to spearhead advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies tailored for the forthcoming Wingman system—a cutting-edge unmanned fighter-type aircraft. This innovative aircraft is poised to seamlessly integrate with existing combat jets and will receive directives from a pilot aboard a command aircraft, such as the esteemed Eurofighter.

Marking its debut at the ILA, Airbus is unveiling its visionary Wingman concept, poised to address the escalating operational demands of the German Air Force. The Wingman initiative is designed to bolster the capabilities of manned combat aircraft with unmanned platforms capable of weapon deployment and other impactful functions.

The contemporary conflicts unfolding on Europe’s perimeters underscore the critical significance of air superiority,” remarked Mike Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “Manned-Unmanned Teaming is set to assume a pivotal role in achieving and sustaining air superiority: Equipped with an unmanned Wingman, fighter pilots can effectively navigate beyond the realm of peril. They retain command authority while delegating hazardous tasks to their AI-supported counterparts, ranging from target reconnaissance and neutralization to electronic countermeasures against hostile air defense systems.

While human oversight remains paramount, it’s imperative to acknowledge that the most perilous segments of unmanned missions will demand a significant degree of autonomy, necessitating robust AI integration,” emphasized Gundbert Scherf, Co-CEO at Helsing. “From sensor data processing and subsystem optimization to holistic system-level integration, software-defined capabilities and AI will constitute indispensable facets of the Wingman system for the German Air Force.

Under the purview of the AI accord, Airbus will leverage its unparalleled expertise in facilitating the interaction between unmanned and manned military aircraft, a discipline known as Manned-Unmanned Teaming. Leveraging its status as the prime contractor for major European defense initiatives such as the Eurofighter and the A400M military transporter, Airbus is uniquely positioned to drive innovation in this domain. Complementing Airbus’s prowess, Helsing will provide its comprehensive AI stack comprising mission-critical software capabilities, encompassing sensor data fusion and advanced algorithms tailored for electronic warfare scenarios.


The collaboration between Airbus and Helsing signifies a significant leap forward in the integration of artificial intelligence within military aircraft. This partnership not only enhances the capabilities of manned combat aircraft but also underscores the growing importance of AI in autonomous mission execution. For the market, this signals a shift towards more advanced, AI-driven solutions in defense technology, potentially opening up new avenues for innovation and competition among industry players.