ArtificialIntelligenceWeapons A drone loaded with explosives in Russia and Ukraine was lying on the streets of Kyiv like a dead fish. Its nose was shattered, its rear propeller was also twisted, and it crashed without detonating a deadly payload. The reason It could be a malfunction, or it could have been shot down by Ukrainian forces early on. Photos of the drone quickly went viral on social media, and weapons experts identified it as a “KUB-BLA” drone made by Zala Aero, a Russian weapon The drone manufacturing arm of the manufacturer Kalashnikov Group, the drone can autonomously fly to a designated area, then hover around it for up to 30 minutes before detonating itself, like a suicide bomber Same.
These advanced suicide drones belong to today’s so-called “Autonomous weapons”, which experts believe are the third revolution in the world of warfare after gunpowder and nuclear weapons. The evolution from landmines to guided missiles is just the prelude to truly autonomous weapons powered by artificial intelligence. Today’s smart weapons can actively search for targets, decide to engage them, and destroy them without human intervention. Many countries, including Russia, have used the technology to their advantage, and the current war in Ukraine has not escaped the brutality of Russian AI.
Smart weapons are an umbrella term for algorithms that help determine when and where to fire, one of the most dangerous areas of modern warfare. Its proponents see it as a gift from God, as the weapon improves accuracy and eliminates the possibility of human error, while its critics mostly see it as a disaster, as it takes the human element out of warfare , will make killing easy and even costless.
Although different in some details, one thing all fully intelligent weapons have in common is that artificial intelligence can take the decision to fire better than humans. By training in thousands of battles and then adjusting their parameters to suit a particular conflict, it is also possible to combine artificial intelligence with conventional weapons and then search for enemy fighters and drop bombs or fire at them , or kill each other without human intervention.
Well, Russia is one of the largest defense spenders in the world, according to World Bank estimates, Russia’s defense spending reached $62 billion in 2020, second only to the United States and China. The three aforementioned countries have long been testing numerous AI units and weapons. In 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “Whoever becomes the leader of artificial intelligence will become the ruler of the world.”
Like most modern militaristic nations, Russia has a drone fleet. The “KUB-BLA” drone was developed by the Kalashnikov Group, which also produces the famous Russian assault rifle.
Russia deployed its drones into combat before it invaded Ukraine. The Russian military is intervening in the Syrian war to preserve the Syrian regime, and the Khmemin air base Russia has established in Syria has radar and surveillance equipment, as well as drone operations in Syria. Moscow has used ‘suicide drones’ to attack militants in places including Idlib. It is important to point out that the Russian “KYB-UAV” drone destroys itself when it hits a target. The Russian Defense Ministry initially tested the drones in Syria in late December 2021, and plans to expand their use in 2022.
When it comes to autonomous weapons, Russia has deployed ground-based unmanned vehicles for tasks ranging from handling bombs to shooting down planes and, of course, killing. At the end of last year, the automated unit was part of a larger test, during which Russian Armed Forces Commander Oleg Salyukov confirmed that the Uran-9, known by the moniker of the “deadly robot”, had no Human tank, which will be in service with the Russian ground forces during 2022 for combat and reconnaissance missions.
In the ocean, Russia plans to integrate artificial intelligence into marine equipment to operate without a crew. In November last year, it was reported that the Russian Ministry of Defense was equipping naval ships with “suicide drones” to strike ground targets and enemy ships, and to assist special forces soldiers in “secret missions”. As for the Air Force, Russia has reportedly been developing AI-powered guided missiles that can switch targets mid-flight, since at least early 2017, to mimic the advanced technology of Raytheon’s Tomahawk cruise missile.
What worries experts is that, just as Moscow appears to be preparing to use other controversial weapons, such as cluster bombs, in Ukraine, its use of automatic weapons will not lag. Russia, the United States and Ukraine have yet to sign the 2008 cluster bomb treaty, which has been ratified by more than 100 other countries.
Russian smart weapons
These are not just theoretical concerns, we already talked about the “KUB-BLA” drone at the beginning of the article, a loitering drone with a wingspan of 1.2 meters that can fly continuously at speeds of up to 130 kilometers per hour For 30 minutes, it will deliberately hit the target and release 3kg of explosives. It is said that when Zara Aviation first demonstrated the “KUB-BLA” drone at the 2019 Russian Air Show, it pointed out in its promotional materials that the drone is capable of “real-time intelligent detection and identification of object categories with Type” is characteristic.
Images of the “KUB-BLA” drone have not been confirmed by official sources, but it is known that drones are a relatively new addition to Russia’s military arsenal. The use of these drones may also be in line with Russia’s military transformation strategy in the face of unexpectedly strong Ukrainian resistance, said Samuel Bendert, an expert on Russian military affairs from the defense research center CNA.
Will Russia unleash a highly autonomous AI drone in such a chaotic environment? The capabilities of Russian forces are currently being severely tested in Ukraine, given the country’s overall poor coordination of its air strategy. If ground forces with all the complex information can’t really understand what’s going on on the ground, how can drones be able to?
Many other military experts have questioned the alleged capabilities of the KUB-BLA drone. But despite these doubts, the issue of artificial intelligence in weapons systems has recently sparked controversy as the technology is rapidly infiltrating many military systems. The U.S. military has emphasized that the decision to kill should be taken by real people, but the U.S. has also opposed a ban on the development of such systems.
If both parties happen to have smart weapons, a sci-fi scenario of two robots destroying each other is possible. No one can say for certain whether this will keep the conflict away from the civilian population or push it toward the civilian population. That effort was thwarted last year when 10 countries, many of them from South America, wanted to update the Conventional Arms Trade Treaty to include a blanket ban on artificial intelligence.
Well, the drone itself may not have done much to change the course of the war in Ukraine, and there is no evidence that Russia is using this weapon on a large scale, however, its emergence still raises concerns that artificial intelligence may be used in the future concerns about a greater role in the lethal decision-making process.