Artificial Intelligence is one of the significant aspects of modern warfare. In comparison to the conventional systems, military systems integrated with AI are capable of managing huge volumes of data more efficiently. Moreover, owing to its inherent computing and decision-making capabilities, Artificial Intelligence improves the self-control, self-actuation, and self-regulation of combat systems.
Almost every military application uses AI, and increased R&D investments from defense research institutions to build new and advanced applications of AI is expected to drive the demand for AI-driven systems in the defense sector.
For example, the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding the development of an automated submarine system, which is anticipated to be used in several applications, ranging from detecting underwater mines to its engagement in anti-submarine operations. Moreover, the US DoD spent an aggregate of USD 7.4 billion on technologies such as AI, Big Data, and cloud in the financial year 2017. On the other hand, China is relying on AI to improve its defense capabilities and is projected to become the dominant nation across the world in this field by 2030.
According to a study, the market size of AI in the defense sector is expected to reach USD 18.82 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 14.75% from 2017 to 2025. Mentioned below are some of the major military applications where AI is expected to prove beneficial in the years to come.
1. Warfare Platforms
Defense forces from several countries are integrating AI into their combat systems and weapons used on land, airborne, space, and naval platforms.
Embedding AI in systems based on these platforms has facilitated the development of efficient combat systems, which require less input from humans. It has also enabled enhanced performance and increased synergy while requiring less maintenance.
Defense weapons and other military systems are often the major targets of cybercriminals and if meddled, can lead to loss of confidential military information and damage to combat systems. However, if these systems are equipped with AI, they can autonomously protect networks, programs, confidentiality, computers, and data from any kind of criminal activities.
3. Logistics & Transportation
AI is expected to play a significant role in defense logistics and transport. The effective transportation of weapons, arms, goods, and troops forms an important aspect of successful defense operations.
Integrating AI with logistics and transportation can lower the costs and reduce human inputs and efforts. It can also help in detecting anomalies with efficiency and quickly figure out component failures. Recently, the US Army joined hands with IBM to employ its Watson AI platform to pre-determine maintenance problems in Stryker combat vehicles.
4. Combat Simulation & Training
Combat simulation & training is a wide-ranging field that conjoins software engineering, system engineering, and computer science to build computer-aided systems, presenting soldiers with different combat systems armed during defense operations. The US is investing heavily in these applications.
The US Navy and Army have each been administering warfare analysis, leading to the foundation of various sensor simulation programs. The US Navy’s programs are supported by companies including Orbital ATK, AECOM, SAIC, and Leidos, while the US Army has enlisted a number of companies such as Millennium Engineering, Torch Technologies, CACI, and SAIC to support their programs.