In the defence world, AI and automation are combining to change how military strategists plan for air and cybersecurity. It’s redefining this critical sector, heralding a new era where technology and strategy intertwine in ways previously unimagined.
In our previous story, we explored how artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing submarine warfare and long-range strike capabilities. We continue this theme by looking at the emerging use of AI in drone technology and cyber security.
Autonomous Capabilities: Redefining Defence Operations in Australia
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is harnessing the power of unmanned vehicles and looking to further develop this capability.
Currently, RQ-7B Shadow 200 is in use by the ADF as its existing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) capability: a technology developed in 2004 by American aerospace firm AAI Corporation. However, with a hefty unit cost of USD$750000 and manufactured in America, this capability is neither sovereign nor cheap.
The costliness of the RQ-7B Shadow and the threat of future supply chain disruption has led Defence down a new direction. As demonstrated by recent tenders from Australia’s new innovation program Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA), it has become apparent that Defence is now pushing for the acquisition of a locally produced UAV capability.
The decision is justified by the distinct lack of sovereign drone capabilities within Australia, which is especially pertinent given the demonstrable effectiveness of drones in modern warfare. The versatility and cost-effectiveness Australian-made UAVs will bring to the battlefield make it a crucial capability for the ADF to acquire within the near future.
From Air to Cyberspace: AI's Role in Enhancing Cybersecurity
The rise of cyber warfare necessitates a new focus on bolstering cybersecurity capabilities within defence forces.
Implementing advanced AI algorithms for real-time detection and response to cyber threats is now more important than ever to safeguard critical infrastructure and sensitive information.
A leading light in this field is Darktrace, a British cybersecurity company that is leveraging AI algorithms in machine learning to detect unusual activity within a network that could signify a cyberattack.
In one instance, Darktrace's AI technology detected a subtle, abnormality in the behaviour of a user within a large European manufacturing firm; a cybersecurity breach that would have ordinarily gone undetected. The user was found to be sending a higher volume of emails than usual, and further investigation revealed that the account was compromised and was being used to conduct reconnaissance for an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attack.
The AI system's ability to learn normal 'patterns of life' and identify deviations from them allowed Darktrace to detect and respond to the threat before it could escalate. This prevented significant damage to the organization's systems and protected sensitive data from being accessed.
AI and Machine Learning in Drones and other Military Applications
For autonomous vehicles in particular, AI and machine learning advancements have proven to be hugely beneficial in modernising existing capabilities.
Integrated AI technologies are able to more effectively leverage and process information gathered by an unmanned vehicle’s various sensors.
With a technology known as “cognitive sensing”, a capability is able to take data from external sensors, pass it through an AI-powered “cognitive processor”, and convert said data into a more informative and holistic perception of the capability’s surrounding environment.
Such technology is just a single example of the exciting and ground-breaking advancements that AI can bring to defence.
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