Some technology experts believe that innovative commercial software developers who are entering the arms market constitute a challenge to the dominance of the traditional industry of the defense sectorwhich produces weapons at a very high cost and, sometimes, at a very slow speed.
It is too early to know whether large human-manned weapons, such as submarines or reconnaissance helicopters, will go the way of battleships, which became obsolete with the rise of aviation. But aerial, terrestrial and underwater robots, joined by humans, are about to play a fundamental role in war.
The war in Ukraine is already proof of this. There, even rudimentary teams of humans and machines operating without significant AI-driven autonomy are reconfiguring the battlefield. According to military analysts who study the conflict, Simple remotely piloted drones have greatly improved the lethality of artillery, rockets and missiles in Ukraine.
Kathleen HicksUS Deputy Secretary of Defense, said in a speech on August 28 at a military technology conference in Washington that traditional military capabilities “remain essential”.
But he noted that the Ukraine conflict has shown that emerging technology developed by commercial and non-traditional companies could be “decisive in defense against modern military aggression”.
A special report from the news agency Reuters published Friday explores how AI-powered automation is about to revolutionize weapons, warfare, and military power.
Both Russian and Ukrainian forces are integrating traditional weapons with AIsatellite imaging and communications, as well as smart and loitering munitions (also known as “kamikaze drones”) according to a May report by the Special Competitive Studies Project, a nonpartisan American think tank.
The battlefield is now a patchwork of deep trenches and bunkers where troops have been “forced to go underground or huddle in basements to survive,” according to the report.
Some military strategists have noted that in this conflict, attack and transport helicopters have become so vulnerable that they have almost been forced out of the skies and their functions have increasingly been handed over to drones.
“Unmanned aerial systems have already eliminated manned reconnaissance helicopters from many of their missions,” he said. Mick Ryana former Australian Army major general who regularly posts commentary on the conflict.
“We are beginning to see how artillery observers on the ground are replaced by drones. So we are already starting to see some replacement.”
(With information from Reuters)