Karachi Defense Expo 2022: Pakistan Military's Focus on AI, Connectivity and Drone Warfare

Pakistan displayed its latest drones at IDEAS 2022 (International Defence Exhibition and Seminar) Defense Expo held in November in Karachi. It also presented sessions on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and connectivity. The event attracted more than 50 countries, including large pavilions set up by Pakistan's closest friends China and Turkey.  The four-day IDEAS 2022 opened on November 15, 2022 at Karachi Expo Centre, bringing together 300 leading national and international defense manufacturers and over 300 foreign delegates from 57 countries.

Pakistan's Shahpar 2 Attack Drone

Shahpar 2 Drone:

On display at IDEAS 2022 was Shahpar-2 Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) attack drone  produced by Global Industrial and Defense Solutions (GIDS), a Pakistani state-owned defense conglomerate. It can fly at a maximum speed of around 222 kilometers per hour (kph) with maximum range of around 1,050 kilometers, and the data link range of 300 kilometers. It can contact satellites in day or night operations.   

Shahpar 2 drone can locate, surveil, track and attack targets.  Its Zumr-II (EO/IR) turret is an improved and lighter version of Zumr-I (EP) turret. It can also be equipped with SAR, COMINT/ELINT payload. For sensors and targeting systems drone has an internal hard-point where it carry 50 kg (110 lb) payload. (Zumr-I weighs 36.5 kg (80 lb) while Zumr-II weighs 49 kg (108 lb)). The drone has two external hard-points where it can carry laser guided weapons, AGMs 60 kg (130 lb) each. Shapar 2 has already been inducted into service with Pakistan’s Army, Navy, and Air Force. 

Pakistan Navy's Cruise Missiles: Babur, Harba and Zarb. Source: Quwa

Also on display were advanced Harbah anti-ship cruise missiles made by Pakistan's state-owned Global Industrial and Defence Solutions (GIDS) and electronic warfare system produced by National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC). The locally developed Al-Khalid tanks and modern assault rifles manufactured by Pakistan Ordinance Factories (POF) were also exhibited. Visitors also got a close look at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) JF-17 Thunder fighter jets produced jointly by China and Pakistan. 

JF-17 Block III: 

JF-Block-III is a BVR (Beyond Visual Range) multi-role fighter jet capable of firing long range air-to-air missiles like China's PL-10 and PL-15. It features active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system, making it Pakistan Air Force’s first AESA-equipped fighter aircraft. Combination of AESA radar and 120-mile range PL-15 missiles make the JF-17 Block 3 an extremely lethal fighter for beyond visual range combat, considerably more capable than any fighter in Pakistani service including the F-16.  It also has a new electronic warfare system, upgraded avionics including a three-axis fly-by-wire digital flight control system, and a helmet-mounted display and sight (HDMS) system. With its new integrated sensor package, the aircraft will have the capability for quick information sharing and network-enabled operations that facilitate earlier detection and interception of enemy aircraft. 

Pakistan JF-17 Block 3 Fighter Jet

Chinese and Turkish Pavilions:

Pakistan’s longtime allies China and Turkey had the largest foreign presence at IDEAS 2022. Chinese state-run defense conglomerate China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO) displayed missiles and weapon systems including the Red Arrow 9A anti-tank guided missile.  

Turkey displayed a scale model of its fifth-generation fighter, codenamed the TF-X, at Pakistan’s IDEAS expo 2022. Over two dozen Turkish defense manufacturers participated in Pakistan’s IDEAS defense expo this year. 

Top Turkish defense manufacturers, including Roketsan, state-run STM and ASFAT, showcased their products ranging from modern armed drones to tactical mini-UAV systems. Turkish Aerospace exhibited the models of the T129 ATAK helicopter, Gokbey multirole helicopter, Gokturk-2 observation satellite, as well as Anka unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and Aksungur medium-altitude long-range endurance (MALE) UAV.

AI and Connectivity:   

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) launched a Cognitive Electronic Warfare (CEW) program in 2020 at its Center for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC). Modern connected weapon systems generate vast amounts of data requiring artificial intelligence and machine learning software for speedy analysis and rapid decision-making on the battlefield.  

A seminar titled ‘Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Defence Market: A Paradigm Shift in Military Strategy and National Security’ was organized as part of IDEAS-22. Also discussed was ‘One Network’, an advanced communication project, under which 3,000 kilometers of underground fibre optic cable is being laid along the motorways in Pakistan.  

An example of connectivity and integration was demonstrated in Operation Swift Retort against India in February 2019. The success of this operation was the result of combat-proven PAF fighters which are fully integrated with the air defense system (e.g. AWACS), and are mutually data-linked, alongside all AEW (Airborne Early Warning) and ground sensors. 

Rethink After Ukraine War:

The war in Ukraine is forcing a defense strategy rethink in countries around the world. This is particularly true of  countries such as India that rely mainly on Russian equipment and training. Hindustan Times has quoted an unnamed former Indian Army Chief as saying:  “War videos available show that the Russian Army has tactical issues in Ukraine war. Tell me, which tank formation goes to war in a single file without air or infantry cover when the opponent is equipped with the best anti-tank guided missile like Javelin or Turkish Bayraktar TB2 missile firing drones? There is question on Russian air supremacy with Ukraine Army armed with shoulder fired Stinger surface to air missiles as well as the night fighting capability of the Russian Air Force.”

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Comment by Riaz Haq on December 13, 2022 at 6:20pm

Pakistan launches first locally built assault boat
By Usman Ansari

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2022/12/13/pakistan-launches-firs...

Pakistan’s Bahria Boat Building Yard launched its first 12T marine assault boat on Dec. 5 at its Karachi facility as part of a technology transfer deal with Polish shipbuilder Techno Marine.

The deal represents Techno Marine’s expanding presence in Pakistan; the company previously supplied 30 Chaser TM-1226 rigid inflatable boats for Pakistan’s naval special forces.

The contract for the marine assault boats was signed in 2018, but verifiable public information is limited. Available information notes the delivery in 2019 of two 12T vessels.

However, a spokesman with Bahria Boat Building Yard told Defense News the Pakistan Navy ordered 18 12T boats made up of two types. The Karachi Naval Dockyard is building those powered by outboard engines, and the Navy hired Bahria to make those powered by water jets. Bahria is currently building the remaining three of four vessels it is currently contracted to produce.

The spokesman also said efforts are underway to secure more domestic customers for the Bahria-built boats.

Around the 2003-2004 time frame, Thailand’s Marsun shipyard supplied M-16 fast assault boats — similar to the 12T — and the design for Pakistan’s locally built Jurrat-class missile boats. However, the M-16 vessels no longer meet the Pakistan Navy’s requirements.

The Bahria spokesman said the 12T “is for surveillance, policing purposes and [is] extremely swift in handling, as required, to operate in restricted/Creek areas,” but also around other sensitive areas such as the main naval base in Ormara and the commercial port of Gwadar.

The “Creek areas” refers to the disputed border with India around the Sir Creek, where the land border reaches the Arabian Sea. The tidal estuary is formed of marshland and shifting creeks. Conflicting claims over the border have resulted in a disputed maritime boundary in the Arabian Sea shaped like a large triangle, within which may be subsea energy resources.

Though the Pakistan Marines service patrols the Creeks area with British-built Griffon hovercraft, the 12T would enable a more effective patrolling presence into the disputed area of sea.

The 12T is equipped with twin inboard Cummins-powered Hamilton water jets. It can reach 42 knots (48 mph). It is also equipped with a navigational suite from British company Raymarine, and features ballistic protection by Danish company Scanfiber Composites.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 17, 2022 at 8:23pm

Ukraine War Lessons For India: Big Wars Are Back, Terrorism Takes A Backseat

https://www.outlookindia.com/national/ukraine-war-lessons-for-india...

Defence analysts say that the two lessons from the Ukraine War are that, one, the big wars are back and terrorism has taken a backseat, and, two, the superiority of Western weapons is apparent from how Russian advances have been stalled by West-backed Ukraine.

When Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, it was supposed to be a short war to be ended in a few days with the capture of Ukrainian capital Kyiv. Now even after 11 months, the war is on and military strategists across the world are trying to draw lessons from it as the Ukraine War has transformed modern warfare.

Indian defense analysts say India has to learn a lot from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, ranging from whether to use nuclear weapons on the battlefield and when to use them and whether to be in an alliance or not. They agree that terrorism no longer is an issue in the great power game and it has become a side issue while the war assumed prime position.

Defense analyst Pravin Sawhney says the first lesson from the Russia-Ukraine war is that big wars are back.

“Contrary to the claims of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the era of the war is over, the reality is opposite of what Modi said — the big wars are back,” Sawhney tells Outlook.

Meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit (SCO Summit) in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand, Modi had told Putin, “I know that today’s era is not an era of war, and I have spoken to you on the phone about this.”

Modi said democracy, diplomacy, and dialogue have kept the world together. Sawhney, whose latest book is The Last War: How AI Will Shape India’s Final Showdown With China, has been for long arguing that the Indian military is preparing for the wrong war. He says terrorism has taken a backseat in the great power game struggle and it is a side issue for the United States. The USA fought terrorism for 20 years but now it is not a major issue for them but the war is, says Sawhney.

He tells Outlook, “The war now will not be limited to battle space. It will be fought in the war zone and the whole nation could be a battle zone. We have seen cyberattacks, and we have seen Russians attack power stations and various other facilities. That is why I am saying wars will be fought all over the nation and communication will be a key issue as warring nations will try to keep their communication lines intact while disrupting the other.”

Sawhney says that Russia was the first to disrupt communication facilities in Ukraine. But later the arrival of Starlink satellite internet terminals made by Elon Musk’s SpaceX solved Ukraine’s communication problems. Starlink has been a vital source of communication for Ukraine’s military, allowing it to fight and stay connected even as cellular phone and internet networks have been destroyed in its war with Russia.

“If Starlink would have not provided communication, Ukraine would have been blinded in the war. This happens when the fight is between two equal powers. Here it is between Russia and NATO, so when the fight is between two major powers, it will be protracted war,” Sawhney argues.

“Recently Indian Army Chief said long protracted wars are back. But we must understand that they are back between the two major powers not between the two countries having huge disparity,” argues Sawhney citing example of China and India. He says every country has major red lines and these red lines have to be identified. “NATO expansion was a red line for Russia and this red line was known to all.”

Similarly, Sawhney urges that there needs to be an understanding of what Sun Weidong, who was the Chinese Ambassador to India till recently and is the Vice Foreign Minister of China, stated in his last press conference in New Delhi. Sun Weidong made Chinese red lines known in that press conference and it is the One-China policy, says Sawhney.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 17, 2022 at 8:24pm

Ukraine War Lessons For India: Big Wars Are Back, Terrorism Takes A Backseat

https://www.outlookindia.com/national/ukraine-war-lessons-for-india...


Fifty-six-year old Sun, who recently returned to Beijing after a stint of over three years in New Delhi, in his rare briefing in New Delhi had said that the India-China relationship was based on the “One China” principle and called on India to “reiterate” it. Earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had called on all parties not to change the status quo over Taiwan, which appeared to be aimed at China for crossing the median line in recent military exercises.

“It is very clear that it is the US that has altered the status quo and undermined peace and stability. China’s measures are justified and legitimate,” Sun had said, referring to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

“The outgoing Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong made it clear that the foundation of India-China relations is on One China Policy. Since the Modi government came to power in India, it is not clear about One China Policy,” Sawhney adds.

He says another lesson for the Ukraine War is the extensive use of new technology like drones during the wars between major powers.

He adds, “It is applicable between Russia and NATO or between India and Pakistan but not between China and India as China has advanced cyber warfare capability.”

A month after the Russia-Ukraine War, Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane in March had said the main lesson from the conflict was that India has to be ready to fight future wars with indigenous weapon systems.

“The biggest lesson is that we have to be ready to fight future wars with indigenous weapons and the steps towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat in defense should be taken more urgently. The wars of the future should be fought with our own weapon systems,” the then Army chief General Naravane said.

As the war in Ukraine has turned into a bloody stalemate with neither side possessing a decisive military advantage to achieve geopolitical objectives, many defense experts like Abhijit Iyer-Mitra say one has to see how Western weapons achieve their objective more quickly than Russian weapons and also how technology and willing to take risks has remodelled the war.

Mitra cites examples of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and achieving its objectives in 78 days and the NATO invasion of Iraq making Bagdad cave in early to point out the superiority of the western weapons.

He adds, “These wars and Ukraine War show initial victory with Western weapons happens very rapidly. The counter-insurgency is altogether a different matter that happened after the initial victories.”

Mitra argues that the Russia-Ukraine conflict has also shown “how obsolete Russian weapons are and how non-existent Russian intelligence has become.”

“An important lesson of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is one should have complete hold on the interpretation of imagery to target the adversary and if you are using Eastern weapons prepare for long-drawn war. The eastern weapons are effective but they require a lot of time. It is brutal and you have to be willing to accept deaths in thousands,” he adds.

Mitra says information warfare is another aspect that cannot be overlooked as at present the Ukraine-Russia conflict’s narrative has been completely captured by the Western media in general and the narratives have the ability to influence the morale of the troops and the nations fighting the war.

“In past wars between India and China or between Pakistan and India, infrastructure has not been targeted. They have been always military-to-military fights. But things started to change when Russia started targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure. You need to be willing to take out energy and all kinds of infrastructure to assist your troops.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 17, 2022 at 8:24pm

Ukraine War Lessons For India: Big Wars Are Back, Terrorism Takes A Backseat

https://www.outlookindia.com/national/ukraine-war-lessons-for-india...


“You have to seriously start thinking when you are going to use nuclear weapons on a battlefield. You have to also weigh the cost of being outside an alliance while using nuclear weapons. Because of what Poland, Latvia, and Estonia can do, Ukraine cannot do. Being in an alliance gives you a certain kind of deterrence which you don’t get outside an alliance even if you have nuclear weapons. These are lessons the Russia-Ukraine conflict teaches us,” Mitra says.

However, Mitra was dismissive of Aatmanirbhar Bharat in the defense industry, though he says the main lesson India should learn from the Ukraine conflict is to be Aatmanirbhar — self-reliant.

He adds, “We have been hearing this argument Aatmanirbhar for the past 25 years. Nobody knows it as no one understands it. This was possible twenty years ago but not now when the gap is narrowing. Besides, there are a lot of western weapons you cannot indigenise.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 18, 2022 at 8:06am

What is ChatGPT? The AI chatbot talked up as a potential Google killer
After all, the AI chatbot seems to be slaying a great deal of search engine responses.

https://interestingengineering.com/science/chatgpt-ai-chatbot-googl...

ChatGPT is the latest and most impressive artificially intelligent chatbot yet. It was released two weeks ago, and in just five days hit a million users. It’s being used so much that its servers have reached capacity several times.

OpenAI, the company that developed it, is already being discussed as a potential Google slayer. Why look up something on a search engine when ChatGPT can write a whole paragraph explaining the answer? (There’s even a Chrome extension that lets you do both, side by side.)

But what if we never know the secret sauce behind ChatGPT’s capabilities?

The chatbot takes advantage of a number of technical advances published in the open scientific literature in the past couple of decades. But any innovations unique to it are secret. OpenAI could well be trying to build a technical and business moat to keep others out.

What it can (and can’t do)
ChatGPT is very capable. Want a haiku on chatbots? Sure.

How about a joke about chatbots? No problem.

ChatGPT can do many other tricks. It can write computer code to a user’s specifications, draft business letters or rental contracts, compose homework essays and even pass university exams.

Just as important is what ChatGPT can’t do. For instance, it struggles to distinguish between truth and falsehood. It is also often a persuasive liar.

ChatGPT is a bit like autocomplete on your phone. Your phone is trained on a dictionary of words so it completes words. ChatGPT is trained on pretty much all of the web, and can therefore complete whole sentences – or even whole paragraphs.

However, it doesn’t understand what it’s saying, just what words are most likely to come next.

Open only by name
In the past, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have been accompanied by peer-reviewed literature.

In 2018, for example, when the Google Brain team developed the BERT neural network on which most natural language processing systems are now based (and we suspect ChatGPT is too), the methods were published in peer-reviewed scientific papers, and the code was open-sourced.

And in 2021, DeepMind’s AlphaFold 2, a protein-folding software, was Science’s Breakthrough of the Year. The software and its results were open-sourced so scientists everywhere could use them to advance biology and medicine.

Following the release of ChatGPT, we have only a short blog post describing how it works. There has been no hint of an accompanying scientific publication, or that the code will be open-sourced.

To understand why ChatGPT could be kept secret, you have to understand a little about the company behind it.

OpenAI is perhaps one of the oddest companies to emerge from Silicon Valley. It was set up as a non-profit in 2015 to promote and develop “friendly” AI in a way that “benefits humanity as a whole”. Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and other leading tech figures pledged US$1 billion (dollars) towards its goals.

Their thinking was we couldn’t trust for-profit companies to develop increasingly capable AI that aligned with humanity’s prosperity. AI therefore needed to be developed by a non-profit and, as the name suggested, in an open way.

In 2019 OpenAI transitioned into a capped for-profit company (with investors limited to a maximum return of 100 times their investment) and took a US$1 billion(dollars) investment from Microsoft so it could scale and compete with the tech giants.

It seems money got in the way of OpenAI’s initial plans for openness.

Profiting from users
On top of this, OpenAI appears to be using feedback from users to filter out the fake answers ChatGPT hallucinates.

According to its blog, OpenAI initially used reinforcement learning in ChatGPT to downrank fake and/or problematic answers using a costly hand-constructed training set.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 19, 2022 at 4:27pm

How the algorithm tipped the balance in Ukraine

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/12/19/palantir-algorit...

by David Ignatius

KYIV — Two Ukrainian military officers peer at a laptop computer operated by a Ukrainian technician using software provided by the American technology company Palantir. On the screen are detailed digital maps of the battlefield at Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, overlaid with other targeting intelligence — most of it obtained from commercial satellites.

As we lean closer, we see can jagged trenches on the Bakhmut front, where Russian and Ukrainian forces are separated by a few hundred yards in one of the bloodiest battles of the war. A click of the computer mouse displays thermal images of Russian and Ukrainian artillery fire; another click shows a Russian tank marked with a “Z,” seen through a picket fence, an image uploaded by a Ukrainian spy on the ground.

If this were a working combat operations center, rather than a demonstration for a visiting journalist, the Ukrainian officers could use a targeting program to select a missile, artillery piece or armed drone to attack the Russian positions displayed on the screen. Then drones could confirm the strike, and a damage assessment would be fed back into the system.

This is the “wizard war” in the Ukraine conflict — a secret digital campaign that has never been reported before in detail — and it’s a big reason David is beating Goliath here. The Ukrainians are fusing their courageous fighting spirit with the most advanced intelligence and battle-management software ever seen in combat.

“Tenacity, will and harnessing the latest technology give the Ukrainians a decisive advantage,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told me last week. “We are witnessing the ways wars will be fought, and won, for years to come.”

I think Milley is right about the transformational effect of technology on the Ukraine battlefield. And for me, here’s the bottom line: With these systems aiding brave Ukrainian troops, the Russians probably cannot win this war.

“The power of advanced algorithmic warfare systems is now so great that it equates to having tactical nuclear weapons against an adversary with only conventional ones,” explains Alex Karp, chief executive of Palantir, in an email message. “The general public tends to underestimate this. Our adversaries no longer do.”

“For us, it’s a matter of survival,” argues “Stepan,” the senior Ukrainian officer in the Kyiv demonstration, who before the war designed software for a retail company. Now, he tells me bluntly, “Our goal is to maximize target acquisitions.” To protect his identity, he stripped his unit insignia and other markings from his camouflage uniform before he demonstrated the technology. (The names he and his colleague used were not their real ones; I agreed to their request to protect their security.)

“Lesya,” the other officer, was also a computer specialist in peacetime. As she looks at the imagery of the Russian invaders, on a day when their drones are savaging civilian targets in Odessa on Ukraine’s southern coast, she mutters a wish for revenge — and a hope that Ukraine will emerge from the war as a tech power. Although the Ukrainians now depend on technology help from America, she says, “by the end of the war, we will be selling software to Palantir.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 19, 2022 at 4:29pm

How the algorithm tipped the balance in Ukraine

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/12/19/palantir-algorit...


A new deterrent
Kyiv was cold and snowy when I arrived just over a week ago. The power was out in some places. But the capital was relatively calm. There was a traffic jam entering the city on Friday. On Saturday night, restaurants were so packed it was impossible to get a reservation at one upscale spot.

As Ukraine moves toward the new year, the spirit of resistance and resilience is visible everywhere. Roadblocks have mostly disappeared. Children play near captured Russian tanks in St. Michael’s Square. Couples take walks in the park above the Dnieper River.

I visited here at year’s end to explore what I believe is the overriding lesson of this fight — and indeed, of the past several decades of war: A motivated partner like Ukraine can win if provided with the West’s unique technology. The Afghanistan army cracked in a day because it lacked the motivation to fight. But Ukraine — and, before it, the Syrian Kurdish fighters who crushed the Islamic State with U.S. help — has succeeded because it has both the weapons and the will.

I met with a senior team from Palantir that was visiting its Kyiv office. With the approval of Karp, the CEO, they agreed to show me some of the company’s technology close to the firing line. The result is a detailed look at what may prove to be a revolution in warfare — in which a software platform allows U.S. allies to use the ubiquitous, unstoppable sensors that surround every potential battlefield to create a truly lethal “kill chain.”

Palantir, which began its corporate life working with the CIA on counterterrorism tools, has many critics. That’s partly because its biggest funder, from the start, has been co-founder Peter Thiel, a successful tech investor who has also been a strong supporter of Donald Trump and other MAGA Republicans. Karp, by contrast, has supported many Democratic candidates and causes.

The critics have argued that Palantir’s powerful software has been misused by government agencies to violate privacy or serve questionable ends. For example, The Post wrote in 2019 that Palantir’s software was used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help track undocumented immigrants, which led to protests from some of the company’s employees. Tech community activists have asked whether Palantir is too close to the U.S. government and can “see too much” with its tools.

Karp responded to criticism of the company in an email to me last week: “Silicon Valley screaming at us for over a decade did not make the world any less dangerous. We built software products that made America and its allies stronger — and we are proud of that.”

And Ukraine has shifted the political landscape in Silicon Valley. For Karp and many other technology CEOs, this is “the good war” that has led many companies to use their tools aggressively. This public-private partnership is one of the keys to Ukraine’s success. But it obscures many important questions: How dependent should countries be on entrepreneurs whose policy views could change? We can applaud the use of these tools in “good” wars, but what about bad ones? And what about private tools being turned against the governments that helped create them?

We’ll be struggling with these questions about technology and warfare for the rest of this century. But after spending weeks investigating the new tools developed by Palantir and other companies, the immediate takeaway for me is about deterrence — and not just in Ukraine. Given this revolution in technology, adversaries face a much tougher challenge in attacking, say, Taiwan than they might imagine. The message for China in this emerging digital battle space is: Think twice.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 19, 2022 at 4:30pm

How the algorithm tipped the balance in Ukraine

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/12/19/palantir-algorit...

Vast data battlefield
The “kill chain” that I saw demonstrated in Kyiv is replicated on a vast scale by Ukraine’s NATO partners from a command post outside the country. The system is built around the same software platform developed by Palantir that I saw in Kyiv, which can allow the United States and its allies to share information from diverse sources — ranging from commercial satellite imagery to the West’s most secret intelligence tools.

This is algorithmic warfare, as Karp says. Using a digital model of the battlefield, commanders can penetrate the notorious “fog of war.” By applying artificial intelligence to analyze sensor data, NATO advisers outside Ukraine can quickly answer the essential questions of combat: Where are allied forces? Where is the enemy? Which weapons will be most effective against enemy positions? They can then deliver precise enemy location information to Ukrainian commanders in the field. And after action, they can assess whether their intelligence was accurate and update the system.

Data powers this new engine of war — and the system is constantly updating. With each kinetic strike, the battle damage assessments are fed back into the digital network to strengthen the predictive models. It’s not an automated battlefield, and it still has layers and stovepipes. The system I saw in Kyiv uses a limited array of sensors and AI tools, some developed by Ukraine, partly because of classification limits. The bigger, outside system can process highly classified data securely, with cyber protections and restricted access, then feed enemy location data to Ukraine for action.

To envision how this works in practice, think about Ukraine’s recent success recapturing Kherson, on the Black Sea coast. The Ukrainians had precise intelligence about where the Russian were moving and the ability to strike with accurate long-range fire. This was possible because they had intelligence about the enemy’s location, processed by NATO from outside the country and then sent to commanders on the ground. Armed with that information, the Ukrainians could take the offensive — moving, communicating and adjusting quickly to Russian defensive maneuvers and counterattacks.

And when Ukrainian forces hit Russian command nodes or supply depots, it’s a near certainty that they have received enemy location data this way. Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation, told me that this electronic kill chain was “especially useful during the liberation of Kherson, Izium, Kharkiv and Kyiv regions.”

What makes this system truly revolutionary is that it aggregates data from commercial vendors. Using a Palantir tool called MetaConstellation, Ukraine and its allies can see what commercial data is currently available about a given battle space. The available data includes a surprisingly wide array, from traditional optical pictures to synthetic aperture radar that can see through clouds, to thermal images that can detect artillery or missile fire.

To check out the range of available data, just visit the internet. Companies selling optical and synthetic aperture radar imagery include Maxar, Airbus, ICEYE and Capella. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sells simple thermal imaging meant to detect fires but that can also register artillery explosions.

In our Kherson example, Palantir assesses that roughly 40 commercial satellites will pass over the area in a 24-hour period. Palantir normally uses fewer than a dozen commercial satellite vendors, but it can expand that range to draw imagery from a total of 306 commercial satellites that can focus to 3.3 meters. Soldiers in battle can use handheld tablets to request more coverage if they need it. According to a British official, Western military and intelligence services work closely with Ukrainians on the ground to facilitate this sharing of information.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 19, 2022 at 4:32pm

How the algorithm tipped the balance in Ukraine

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/12/19/palantir-algorit...


A final essential link in this system is the mesh of broadband connectivity provided from overhead by Starlink’s array of roughly 2,500 satellites in low-earth orbit. The system, owned by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, allows Ukrainian soldiers who want to upload intelligence or download targeting information to do so quickly.

In this wizard war, Ukraine has the upper hand. The Russians have tried to create their own electronic battlefield tools, too, but with little success. They have sought to use commercial satellite data, for example, and streaming videos from inexpensive Chinese drones. But they have had difficulty coordinating and sharing this data among units. And they lack the ability to connect with the Starlink array.

“The Russian army is not flexible,” Lesya, the Ukrainian officer, told me. She noted proudly that every Ukrainian battalion travels with its own software developer. Ukraine’s core advantage isn’t just the army’s will to fight, but also its technical prowess.

Fedorov, Ukraine’s digital minister, listed some of the military tech systems that Ukraine has created on its own, in a response to my written questions. These include a secure chat system, called “eVorog,” that has allowed civilians to provide 453,000 reports since the war started; a 200-strong “Army of Drones” purchased from commercial vendors for use in air reconnaissance; and a battlefield mapping system called Delta that “contains the actual data in real time, so the military can plan their actions accordingly.”


The “X factor” in this war, if you will, is this Ukrainian high-tech edge and the ability of its forces to adapt rapidly. “This is the most technologically advanced war in human history,” argues Fedorov. “It’s quite different from everything that has been seen before.”

And that’s the central fact of the extraordinary drama the world has been watching since Russia invaded so recklessly last February. This is a triumph of man and machine, together.

Next: How “algorithmic warfare” evolved over the past decade — and some very human worries.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 19, 2022 at 6:45pm

IDEAS 2022: The JF-17 Reaches a Key Maturation Phase


https://quwa.org/2022/11/20/ideas-2022-the-jf-17-reaches-a-key-matu...

Taimoor Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM)
At IDEAS 2022, the PAF revealed that it will induct a new air-launched cruise missile (ALCM), which it has named ‘Taimoor.’ The Taimoor ALCM seems virtually identical to the Ra’ad II ALCM, which has a range of 550-600 km. However, it seems that the PAF is planning to use the Taimoor ALCM as a conventional stand-off range weapon (SOW). Some observers who had attended IDEAS 2022 report that the PAF termed the Taimoor ALCM as a next-generation anti-ship missile as well.

The Taimoor ALCM could be a sign of the PAF investing in the JF-17 and, potentially, J-10CE’s SOW suite by adding a long-range, heavy-payload weapon. It is not known which of Pakistan’s in-house bureaus will be producing the Taimoor ALCM, but it is likely National Engineering & Scientific Commission (NESCOM).

GIDS (Global Industrial & Defence Solutions), which markets products on behalf of Pakistan’s state-owned enterprises (SOE), started promoting the “Harbah-NG” anti-ship cruising missile (ASCM). The Harbah-NG is the export variant of the Harbah, which was first announced in 2018.

There could be an intriguing scenario where the Taimoor ALCM leverages the same propulsion/engine or electronics stack as the Harbah-NG ASCM. This standardization could help with reducing the cost of these systems. In turn, standardization can them affordable enough for wide-scale conventional use. Until this point, Pakistan has largely positioned its cruise missiles for strategic use…

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Air Warfare Syndicate
@AirWarSyndicate
JF-17C is being integrated with advanced Air Superiority Weapons and Avionics Package. The PAF Thunder Riders will have the privilege of using the same HMDS as that of J-20 of PLAAF

HMDS provide great advantage to its users in critical decision making during air battle.

https://twitter.com/AirWarSyndicate/status/1592460516202803206?s=20...

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