Lockheed Martin runs UAE-designed AI inspection capability on aircraft programs

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 16, 2021 – For a group of talented UAE students interning at Lockheed Martin in Masdar City, what started as an ambitious summer project has turned into a real-world engineering breakthrough that will positively impact the company’s aircraft programs for years to come.

After collectively spending 1,200 hours building and testing an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to detect paint and primer defects on jet airframes, the interns recently got confirmation that their creation is being used by Lockheed Martin in the United States.

“We are very proud that the work we did here in Abu Dhabi with our engineering interns is being used to improve the speed and accuracy of quality inspections on aircraft production lines in the United States,” said Hala Alzargani, lead engineer at Lockheed Martin’s Center for Innovation and Security Solutions (CISS). “We initially started working with Lockheed Martin mentors to provide training for Emirati talent interested in careers in the aerospace and defense sector. As work progressed, we were able to digitize the time-consuming process of inspecting aircraft manually and delivered a real-world solution that drives significant time and cost savings as a result.”

Lockheed Martin interns will demonstrate the new AI solution for enhanced aircraft inspection at the 15th edition of the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), taking place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from Feb. 21 to 25, 2021. Also being showcased at IDEX will be the company’s aircraft, rotary systems and air and missile defense technologies, all in compliance with strict COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of visitors and exhibitors.

“The best part of the internship was having the daily stand up meeting with the U.S. mentors and learning from them while we developed the capability,” said Athari Hasan Alzaabi, an intern from Abu Dhabi Polytechnic who studies software security engineering. “I also enjoyed our mentoring sessions with the UAE team at the CISS, which gave me a deeper understanding of AI and taught me how to apply agile software development practices to develop real-world AI projects.”

Lockheed Martin’s CISS has hosted merit-based internship programs since 2017 and has implemented a series of technology development programs for UAE engineers and industry professionals. The program provides specialist training in artificial intelligence development and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle design, defense simulation exercises, business administration skills, and IT systems management, allowing students to work on real-world projects that positively impact the aerospace and defense industry.

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Photos courtesy Lockheed Martin