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Impact of AI and ML On Warfare Techniques

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Artificial Intelligence provides the ability to adapt, reason and solutions to the problems. Modern warfare is becoming heavily reliant on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. It is all because the integration of Al and ML enables machines to process a large amount of data with increased accuracy. Due to such enormous qualities, both Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning has a significant impact on the defense sector. Certain areas are mentioned below:

1. Military Intelligence and Readiness

AI/ML can also be used in training systems to gather, organize and analyze disparate combat sensitive data for individual soldiers that can improve the battle-readiness of a soldier as using such systems soldiers could easily recognize their shortcomings and train accordingly. AI/ML can also be used to gather target information from night vision sensors, weapons sights, navigational devices, and fire detection systems that can be organized for human decision making. To ensure the military readiness one must know:

  • What capabilities are required?
  • Their current status.
  • Where to act to achieve the required capabilities?

These readiness tasks involve searching and scanning mountains of information, testing complex interactions and then understanding the effects of decision which is incredibly difficult for humans but perfect for AI.

2. Weaponry

AI/ML is driving the revolution if weaponry as their amalgamation in conventional weapons has given rise to autonomous weapons that can act on their own based on the programmed threats. Some of its examples are the production of unmanned and weaponized drones that can act as wingmen to detect the aerial threats which will then be acted upon by manned fighters. Drones can not only scout enemy territory ahead of a strike but can also conduct autonomous airstrikes. Apart from drone’s work is also being done on robots fitted with cameras, radars, and a firearm that can conduct preprogrammed or random patrols and alert the command center regarding any kind of suspicious activity. Low cost, unmanned submarines have also been developed that can perform a wide variety of tasks like mine placement and launching of an automatic missile, torpedo and suicide attacks, against enemy vessels.

3. Cybersecurity

A cyber attack can result in loss of highly sensitive data, electrical blackouts, failure of military equipment thus causing a lot of damage to the military bodies. Thus we can say cyber defense is quite essential for ensuring the proper protection of a military organization. Cyber defense includes a mechanism of proper response to actions and critical infrastructure protection and information assurance for organizations. Cyber defense focuses on prevention, detection and timely response to attacks or threats. Using AI/ML techniques, certain active cyber defense techniques have been devised to discover, detect, analyze and mitigate threats and vulnerabilities in real-time. These techniques use established patterns and history of attacks to preempt these attacks and prepare their countermeasures. The benefit of using AI/ML-based techniques is that it can not only do a countermeasure for the already programmed attacks but also develop countermeasures for random attacks in real-time.

4. Target Recognition

AI/ML techniques are being employed to develop automatic target recognition systems. For target recognition particularly laser radar sensors are employed whose goal is to detect and identify enemy howitzers, tanks, and armored personnel carriers. These systems are essential components of smart weapons, missile programs to seek out and destroy specified targets. These missiles are key components of aircraft which must automatically detect, identify and prioritize targets based on targets’ tactical importance. However, building such a system is extremely difficult because a targets’ appearance in radar images changes with:

  • Change in orientation of the sensor
  • Change in time of day or night or weather conditions
  • Change in the type of sensor employed

AI/ML techniques use synthetic aperture radar images to automatically locate and identify targets along with the ability to forecast enemy behavior, environmental conditions, anticipation, and flagging of potential supply line bottlenecks or vulnerabilities. Recent advancement in automatic target recognition system is the introduction of GPS-guided air-droppable unguided bombs. This air-ground weapon system has pinpoint accuracy as it further improves its accuracy before the strike which makes it possible to strike accurately in GPS denied conditions. This is based on autonomous electro-optic scene matching algorithms.

5. Battlefield Healthcare

AI/ML-powered healthcare solutions could also be used for better handling of injuries in combat situations. The system will analyze data and predict skills and patient care techniques that apply in a particular scenario. Having a tool to aid in decision making ensures the best possible outcome. Research has predicted that most of the military deaths occur while rescuing wounded soldiers in the active battlefield so usage of unmanned ground vehicles(UGV’s) to provide on-site surgery, look for and perform casualty extraction and conduct intelligence surveillance can save a lot of lives. UGV’s can be used for the execution of missions where it is dangerous to send a human operator, for instance in mines or when diffusing a bomb. Casualty extraction robots are specifically designed for retrieval of injured soldiers. UGV’s can also act as porters and carry heavy loads over long distances on a rough terrain which otherwise had to be carried by soldiers on and off the battlefield leaving them defenseless.

Thus we can say that AI/ML will not only be used for offensive measures but will also be used for saving lives on the frontline.

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Last Updated : 27 Feb, 2020
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