AI Drones: The Forefront of Modern Warfare

Photo - AI Drones: The Forefront of Modern Warfare
Russia's economy is steadily moving towards a military emphasis: by 2024, Putin intends to dedicate 6% of the GDP to defense industry needs. Despite Western sanctions, the exportation of energy resources—such as crude oil, oil processing products, and natural gas—remains the major financial backbone for Russia's budget.
For this reason, Ukraine, defending itself against Moscow's military aggression since February 2022, has employed long-range drones to target the oil refining infrastructure of the aggressor country.

These targets are often dependent on Western technologies and components, meaning that, due to sanction-imposed restrictions, Russia encounters significant obstacles in repairing the damages caused by Ukraine.

CNN journalists have highlighted the attack on one of Russia’s largest oil refineries, the Ryazan Oil Refining Company, located 500 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, as an illustrative example. 

This military action was made possible through the integration of long-range drones powered by artificial intelligence systems. AI aids Ukrainian UAVs in navigating the landscape and avoiding electronic countermeasures. 
They have this thing called ‘machine vision,’ which is a form of AI. Basically you take a model and you have it on a chip and you train this model to identify geography and the target it is navigating to,
explains Noah Sylvia, a research analyst at the Royal United Services Institute, a UK-based think tank.
Through the integration with AI, Ukrainian drones gain the capability to "understand" their whereabouts, making these AI drones fully autonomous and eliminating the need for satellite data. Although the construction of UAVs at this level of sophistication was previously not feasible, experts are confident that the Ukrainians are only starting to unlock the military potential of AI technology. 
AI-powered drones in use by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Source: CNN

AI-powered drones in use by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Source: CNN

According to Bloomberg's analysis, Ukraine has succeeded in targeting up to 14% of Russian oil refining capabilities. This has effectively reduced oil processing by 300,000 to 400,000 barrels per day. 

The incorporation of AI is also becoming apparent in Israel's war against the terrorist organization Hamas. An Israeli Defense Ministry spokesperson informed Agence France-Presse that the Israeli army (IDF) now employs AI-driven targeting systems and drones. Additionally, the IDF uses AI for neutralizing enemy drones and mapping the network of Hamas tunnels in the Gaza Strip. 

Military procurement significantly bolsters Israel's tech sector, with the industry contributing up to 18% to the nation's GDP in 2022. However, the war has severely impacted Israeli IT, with recent assessments showing that about 8% of the sector's workforce has been conscripted into the IDF.

We have previously covered how the war in Israel has impacted the operations of tech giants such as Intel and Nvidia.