China and the United States had a head start in the AI race, largely attributed to state-sponsored funding in research and development of AI-based technologies and private participation. Although Russia is not seen as a favorite in the global AI race, it remains a force. From dominating World War II with their superior tanks to dominating the cybersecurity space, the Russians were quick to weaponize new technologies.
Vladimir Putin is a strong proponent of using AI-enabled weapons. The Russian President once said, “Artificial intelligence is the future, not just for Russia, but for all of humanity. It brings colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this area will become the master of the world.
Russian defense currently has more than 150 AI-enabled military systems in various stages of development, according to a report by the Center for Naval Analyses. The country is optimistic about the use of AI for electronic warfare, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and even strategic decision-making processes.
Russia’s armada of AI-enabled weapons
Russia is actively building its military capabilities with AI instead of catching up with the US and China in the AI business space. Below are some of the AI-based military systems recently developed by Russia.
National Defense Management Center – To improve coordination between different military units, Russia has developed a National Defense Management Center. The National Defense Management Center will help human operators make better decisions using AI. The system gives a clear picture of the state of Russian forces and the state of military units deployed on domestic and international fronts.
Msta-SM 2S19M2 – A new generation of self-propelled robotic artillery systems has increased range and uses high-precision “smart” shells. The Msta-SM 2S19M2 are equipped with a new automated guidance and fire control system for howitzers. The system allows each combat vehicle to exchange information with the battalion and battery command posts. As a result, information about each shot fired by individual combat vehicles can be shared among all active vehicles on the battlefield, allowing efficient use of firepower and better coordinated attacks.
Altius – The Russian unmanned vehicle is equipped with elements of artificial intelligence and can interact with manned aircraft. The drone can operate independently and can interact with the Su-57, Russia’s fifth-generation fighter. Once it receives the coordinates of the target, Altius creates an algorithm and finds the optimal route to the target and calculates the appropriate points to drop bombs, all without the help of an operator and return to base by plotting the safest route. Additionally, Altius can lift a ton of bombs and missiles as a payload and can conduct reconnaissance operations.
Marker – The Advanced Research Fund and NP Android Technology jointly developed the unmanned ground vehicle, Marker, to aid the Russian soldier on the battlefield. Marker vehicles are capable of pursuing a particular task autonomously and can share information with each other. The devices use neural networks to create swarms to combat any potential threat on the battlefield.
Russia’s Territorial Ambitions and the NATO Threat
Russia’s territorial ambitions came to light with the annexation of Crimea, a peninsula controlled by Ukraine, in 2014. The move alarmed the West and Atlantic Treaty Organization countries. North. The Russian military knows it cannot win a conventional war against powerful NATO forces, but AI weapons can improve its chances. At the same time, the intensification of cooperation between China allows Russia to develop and weaponize AI. “The Russian military seeks to be a leader in weaponizing AI technology,” said Lt. Gen. Michael Groen, director of the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. Growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine have placed NATO forces in Russia’s backyard. However, the West and its allies should not take Russia’s military capabilities lightly.