Artificial intelligence in UAVs: how it changed the course of air defense

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Artificial intelligence in UAVs: how it changed the course of air defense


Blende


Looking through the next news from the Northern Military District zone a couple of months ago, I came across an interesting report from Ukrainian sources, I quote: “recently the Russian military allegedly attacked with infantry on a BMP-3, then it turned out that mannequins were sitting on the armor to divert our firepower, and the infantry unit itself the enemy tried to enter from the other flank.”



It is likely that we have witnessed not just a distracting maneuver for the optics of the APU, where a human operator is used as an observer, but a decoy for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) based on artificial intelligence (hereinafter referred to as AI-UAV), which is absolutely not susceptible to electronic warfare and hunts on the battlefield independently, based on AI-based algorithms.

The use of AI UAVs is gaining momentum around the world. It is no secret that the development of this type of UAV is currently underway in the United States and its sponsored Ukraine. In June 2023, news came from the United States that an AI-based drone conditionally attacked its own operator, considering him an obstacle to completing the task. But I would rephrase this news differently. Most likely, the UAV mistook the operator’s silhouette for an enemy target, because the software, for example, did not include identifying marks on the operator’s uniform, and it mistook the operator for the enemy. That is, in this case, the software on the basis of which this version of AI was created failed.

And already in September 2023, the Armed Forces of Ukraine received permission from the Ministry of Defense to use Saker Scout UAVs controlled by a program based on artificial intelligence, which, most likely, has already pretty much drunk the blood of the Russian Armed Forces.


Russia is actively participating in this high-tech arms race and, although the information here is mostly classified, some of it ends up on our philistine Network. For example, a few days ago there was already sensational news about the release of a new version drones-kamikaze "Lancet". According to the developers, now these UAVs can “act together” and are designed to work in “swarms” controlled by a neural network that distributes targets for strikes among individual drones.

In an interview with the chief engineer, when asked how protected they are from electronic warfare, he replied that the new Lancets are not at all susceptible to the influence of electronic warfare of any power. When asked to clarify what he meant, he smiled and chose not to reveal details. Anyone “in the know” understands what this means: there is a rapid development of not only AI chats like GPT or Bard, but also the active development of AI for military purposes, be it UAVs or ground-based drones for mine clearance and infantry support.


As I mentioned above, the main difference between the new generation of AI-based drones is that not only do they not need an operator to guide their drone to the target, but, perhaps more importantly, these drones are not sensitive to absolutely any means of electronic warfare, on which huge amounts of money are now being spent on both sides of the front.

And although, as in the case of infantry fighting vehicles with mannequins on the armor, this is a good way to divert fire from manpower on the battlefield, it is not the most effective.

Firstly, AI is constantly being improved, for example, it can be taught to recognize the movement of infantry on armor and only after that open fire, i.e., distinguish a living target from a dummy.

Secondly, an AI-based UAV can visit another UAV that is outside the electronic warfare range and that has transmitted the exact coordinates or movement vector of equipment or infantry. After this, an AI-based UAV comes into action, which is inertially guided to the target detection area, and then upon arrival at a given square, it is automatically activated to self-determinate the target in priority order, that is, artificial intelligence enters the scene. Such a move is capable of weeding out a significant part of the placed deceptions in positions or in advancing troop formations. Therefore, drones of this type should ideally be destroyed, rather than distracting them and provoking them to waste ammunition.

Counteraction


And here we come to the most interesting part, namely, possible methods of countering UAVs with integrated AI. Let's think about it, how, in fact, can you shoot down such a “bird” if you can’t jam it with the help of good old electronic warfare?

Three options come to mind so far (readers can readily add their own versions in the comments).

So, option one, the simplest and already proven: destroying the drone with a kinetic hit.

Now the Pantsir air defense systems can already detect even small UAVs on radars and destroy them with twin cannons or even mini-missiles, which, however, is more expensive. The same was demonstrated at the training ground near Novorossiysk, where a meeting of the council of the ERA technopolis was held. With this option, the Pantsir is simply obliged to become one of the most popular weapons in the army, if, of course, its effectiveness is really high. Moreover, this air defense system, in addition to machine guns and missiles, must have built-in electronic warfare, since along with AI-UAVs, classic drones with operators, read – with radio communications, will continue to be used.

True, questions remain here too. So, if, for example, a swarm of dummy UAVs will first force the air defense system to discharge all its ammunition on them, and in the second wave there will be deadly “birds” that will freely attack the given targets.

The second option is more expensive, but potentially more effective than the same “Pantsir”, and is still weapons future. We are talking about EMP - electromagnetic weapons that use a magnetic field or the energy of electromagnetic radiation directly to hit a target.

In simple words, imagine that a swarm of AI drones is flying, and a small missile flies into this group of UAVs, which uses an electromagnetic wave to burn the electronics of enemy drones, say, within a radius of 1 km. I was unable to find information on the use of this type of weapon, but I am sure that it exists at a minimum in the form of large missiles or bombs that are stored for large wars.

The question now is whether such weapons are already on the battlefield or are they just being created to combat swarms of AI-based UAVs that are not susceptible to electronic warfare.


The third option is the secret Peresvet complex, which can also be classified as a weapon of the future due to its novelty and high cost. But potentially this complex can surpass the two options described above in efficiency if we make it more mobile and come up with a more efficient power plant for it, since this weapon of this operating principle requires a lot of energy. And although the Russian Armed Forces do not disclose their successes in this field, we well remember video confirmation of the successful destruction of a UAV by a laser system in Israel a couple of years ago during an exercise.


It would also be a good idea to increase the masking of positions.

The more different mannequins in positions, the better. Moreover, mannequins in uniform and with elementary mechanisms that come to life as soon as an enemy bird appears in the sky, which cannot be drowned out. In this case, all positions of the dummies are read and stored in the AI’s memory when entering a repeat lap. These camouflage dummies must be constantly changed in position.

By the way, in the video reports from the SVO zone in Telegram channels, I already noticed the first such mannequins at the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and, by the way, a Russian UAV dropped suspended ammunition on it, mistaking it for a live target. Moreover, the mannequin remained standing without moving.

Hack and predictor Aviator


As we see, the old truth is confirmed that war is the engine of progress.

With the advent of more advanced AI, more technologically complex weapons appear and rapidly develop, which require a reliable and equally technologically advanced equivalent shield.

I would only like to wish all of us that the war ends with negotiations as soon as possible, and that all the announced and unspoken military developments give impetus to the development of civilian equipment and technologies!
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20 comments
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  1. +4
    10 January 2024 05: 53
    Mannequins (“stuffed animals”) have been used for distracting maneuvers for many centuries. And since WWI-WWII, they have been firmly included in the standard counter-sniper equipment. If there are a lot of mannequins, then in the event of a threat from drones, it will be easier for living people to pretend to be mannequins - to freeze.

    The story of the drone that “hit” its operator during a training exercise has nothing to do with recognition error. All these exercises were completely computer emulation (like a computer game, only without graphics), where the behavior of AI was tested. There, both the operator and the drone were as conditional as the targets.

    "Burning" of electronics is also an element of electronic warfare. But electronic warfare is not omnipotent, as the conflict in Ukraine showed. And electronics can be designed for this. More promising are transportable laser systems (not as bulky as Peresvet) and autonomous (AI) fighter drones.
    1. +2
      10 January 2024 11: 18
      Quote: Pushkowed
      "Burning" of electronics is also an element of electronic warfare. But electronic warfare is not omnipotent

      I always said: “Active air defense systems are primary; electronic warfare systems are secondary”! As for “microwave” weapons, the Americans claim that they have made significant progress in the development of “microwave guns,” which are more convenient and effective compared to “explosive magnetic generators” that have long been “boasted” in Russia! In many missile and UAV developments, warheads are provided on the principle of a microwave gun! I am not yet aware of similar developments in Russia!
    2. 0
      10 January 2024 11: 18
      Quote: Pushkowed
      "Burning" of electronics is also an element of electronic warfare. But electronic warfare is not omnipotent

      I always said: “Active air defense systems are primary; electronic warfare systems are secondary”! As for “microwave” weapons, the Americans claim that they have made significant progress in the development of “microwave guns,” which are more convenient and effective compared to “explosive magnetic generators” that have long been “boasted” in Russia! In many missile and UAV developments, warheads are provided on the principle of a microwave gun! I am not yet aware of similar developments in Russia!
    3. The comment was deleted.
    4. +1
      10 January 2024 11: 26
      Yes, electronic warfare can theoretically burn electronics, but they are mainly designed to plug the control channel. I quote further: “Look, when the “striker” has already been aimed at a ground target by the operator (with or without illumination) and has begun to dive, the electronic warfare is useless. The Lancet will fly to it (with or without an error),” explained Sergei Flash. — “The task of electronic warfare is to prevent the Lancet from finding the target.” (Quote) The principle of operation of enemy UAVs is most likely the same. Therefore, we are talking about an alternative to electronic warfare, and their destruction using long-range EMP or another method at a longer distance. Because they can even direct from a satellite.
      1. +2
        10 January 2024 13: 43
        Well, why are you fixated on air drones? Although aqua-drones have also received some development. Why did they forget about cars and tank-drones? How many tanks and infantry fighting vehicles we have are dying along with their crews! It’s the second year of the war and there are no autonomous tanks in sight. Our guys went on the attack after a minesweeper and all the vehicles were hit and the landing force was fired upon. Why can't the armor be controlled remotely? We have already announced unmanned KAMAZ trucks for the highway. But the army should have been controlled remotely a long time ago! It seems that we have just begun to see drones for delivering ammunition and transporting the wounded. But we don’t seem to have the same breakthrough as with aerial drones for ground movement. So far, the videos feature cars with crews. There are isolated cases when a driver jumps out of a vehicle, pointing it at the enemy. But this is a machine without controls.
        1. +1
          10 January 2024 23: 07
          Quote: North Caucasus
          Well, why are you fixated on air drones? Although aqua-drones have also received some development. Why did they forget about cars and tank-drones?

          Because it is much easier to control a car in the air. There are no obstacles or traps for AI.
        2. +2
          12 January 2024 19: 01
          Quote: North Caucasus
          Well, why are you fixated on air drones? Although aqua-drones have also received some development. Why did they forget about cars and tank-drones?

          It's simple - Maviki and the like can be bought on Aliexpress, geraniums can be bought in Iran, lancets can be purchased from Taiwanese components. And to make a kit for radio control for example T-55, which is not a pity, you have to do it yourself! Do we have many of our own drones, at least half of them ours? Yes, probably almost not at all. In a lost civilization, a lunar rover could travel hundreds of thousands of kilometers, or in a few months they could make a robot for Chernobyl, but now everything falls out of hand, and someone is constantly stealing money
  2. +1
    10 January 2024 06: 56
    Quote: Maxim Bondarenko
    These drones are not sensitive to absolutely any means of electronic warfare

    This does not happen
    1. 0
      10 January 2024 11: 24
      Look, when the “striker” has already been aimed at a ground target by the operator (with or without illumination) and has begun to dive, the electronic warfare is useless. “The Lancet will fly to it (with or without an error),” explained Sergei Flash. “The task of electronic warfare is to prevent the Lancet from finding the target.” (Quote) The principle of operation of enemy UAVs is most likely the same. Therefore, we are talking about an alternative Electronic warfare, and destroying them using long-range EMP or another method at a longer distance, because they can even direct from a satellite.
      1. +1
        10 January 2024 12: 41
        Quote: rapmaxter
        the “striker” has already been aimed at the ground target by the operator (with or without illumination) and has begun diving; electronic warfare is useless. The Lancet will fly to her

        What if the target is moving?
  3. +2
    10 January 2024 07: 16
    Even about 40 years ago, there were attempts to use a computer (now called a computer) as AI.
    I was studying at the institute then. The developer taught us an ACS (automated control system).
    The point was that, on the basis of numerous data, the production program of a plant, or an entire industry, was calculated.
    What was required?, increase production at the lowest cost.
    The program showed that at least more than half of the workers needed to be fired and selected the necessary modern equipment.
    She turned out to be smarter than the people who manually develop such programs.
    We have a big problem now: the war with Ukraine. Now it would be nice to create a virtual General Staff and, based on intelligence information and available weapons, obtain a plan for defeating the enemy. To help our elder generals, so to speak. soldier
    1. +7
      10 January 2024 10: 48
      The military program will gouge Ukraine by megatons in a day.
      1. 0
        10 January 2024 11: 02
        In principle, the same option, but it is possible to exclude nuclear weapons from the formulation of tasks, and to wage a purely ecological war, so to speak. bully
        1. +9
          10 January 2024 11: 10
          First, exclude nuclear weapons, general mobilization, prohibit shooting at civilians...
          The AI ​​will eventually exclude the programmer and the entire General Staff. It’s good if he just ignores them and doesn’t consider them opponents. laughing
    2. +3
      10 January 2024 12: 16
      . Now it would be nice to create a virtual General Staff and, based on intelligence information and available weapons, get a plan for defeating the enemy


      This data first needs to be taken somewhere, then it will have to be entered somewhere. And someone has to introduce them. At the moment there is neither the first, nor the second, nor the third. And to put it simply and clearly, then there is no AI. There is an algorithm for searching through ready-made solutions, entered in advance, and selecting optimal ones based on approved criteria. And God forbid if someone creates real AI. This AI will look at what we are doing and suffocate us all “like kittens.” And, by the way, he will be absolutely right in his own way.
      1. 0
        11 January 2024 19: 15
        no AI exists

        Not quite.
        Generative AI, a large language model, is built on a neural network and is certainly not a real thinking intelligence, but at the same time it is superior to brute-force algorithms, since it is able to generate texts on a given topic and draw images. Chat GPT is able to write essays and novels, answer questions and pass the law exam at the institute. This is far from an exhaustive list of options. AI can also easily replace office workers.
    3. +2
      12 January 2024 19: 04
      Quote: V.
      Now it would be nice to create a virtual General Staff and, based on intelligence information and available weapons, obtain a plan for defeating the enemy.

      I think the AI ​​will say that the General Staff needs to be dispersed, and half of them should be imprisoned. And instead of them, recruit all sorts of distinguished majors and colonels
  4. +1
    10 January 2024 12: 58
    Quote: Dutchman Michel
    Quote: rapmaxter
    the “striker” has already been aimed at the ground target by the operator (with or without illumination) and has begun diving; electronic warfare is useless. The Lancet will fly to her

    What if the target is moving?


    The AI ​​is activated and itself determines the movement of the target and targets it further. Now this is already widely used due to the massive use of electronic warfare to jam the signal between the operator and the UAV.
  5. 0
    23 January 2024 15: 37
    Quote: V.
    Now it would be nice to create a virtual General Staff and, based on intelligence information and available weapons, obtain a plan for defeating the enemy. To help our elder generals, so to speak. soldier


    This is not our method.
    What if the AI ​​demands an “amnesty” for all generals?
    Will it require replacing them with colonels or majors?
    How long will such AI work for defense?
  6. 0
    11 February 2024 13: 46
    By the way, here is confirmation from the fronts, everything is as described here by the author: https://t.me/RVvoenkor/61887

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