Pakistani Military Launches Defense AI Program

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has launched a Cognitive Electronic Warfare (CEW) program at its Center for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC), according to media reports. 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. 

AI/ML in Military

Modern electronic warfare requires the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to analyze vast amounts of data coming from a large number of sensors mounted on various military platforms deployed on the ground, in the air and on the seas. EW systems can collect a considerable amount of data about an enemy’s frequency use, radar deployment, and many other factors. Here is how British defense contractor BAE Systems defines it:

"Cognitive Electronic Warfare (CEW) is the use of cognitive systems – commonly known as Artificial Intelligence (AI) or machine learning – to enhance development and operation of Electronic Warfare (EW) technologies for the defense community. Cognitive systems can sense, learn, reason, and interact naturally with people and environments, accelerating development and implementation of next generation EW threat detection, suppression, and neutralization technologies". 

Indian defense analyst Pravin Sawhney says Pakistan Air Force may have already begun using CEW  systems. In a recent video posted on YouTube, Sawhney believes PAF used CEW in Pakistan's successful Operation Swift Report launched in response to India's bombing of Balakot in 2019. 

Sawhney speculates that, after the success of PAF's Operation Swift Retort, Pakistani military has recognized the importance of using its air force as the lead branch for the deployment of AI/ML and CEW. The establishment of Center for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC) at PAF's Air University is a manifestation of Pakistani military's commitment to this strategy. 

Sawhney says that PAF's commitment to AI/ML and CEW is also a step toward achieving greater interoperability with the PLAAF, the Chinese air force. Pakistan and Chinese air forces have been conducting joint air exercises since 2011. 

PLAAF's General Hong is currently in Pakistan for Shaheen IX joint air exercises with PAF.  He has been quoted in Pakistani media as saying: “The joint exercise will improve the actual level of combat training and strengthen practical cooperation between the two air forces”. Welcoming the Chinese contingent, PAF Air Vice Marshal Sulehri has said, “The joint exercise will provide an opportunity to further enhance interoperability of both the air forces, fortifying brotherly relations between the two countries”. Shaheen IX started a week after Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met with President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Pakistan.

‘Digital Silk Road’ project is one of 12 sub-themes agreed to at the Belt Road Forum 2019 (BRF19) in Beijing. This state-of-the-art information superhighway involves laying fiber optic cables in Pakistan which will connect with China in the north and link with Africa and the Arab World via undersea cable to be laid from Gwadar Deep Sea Port built as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The global project will include 5G wireless networks deployment in BRI (Belt Road Initiative) member nations, including Pakistan.

Watch Indian defense analyst Pravin Sawhney describe Pakistan's defense AI program:

https://youtu.be/xaAKlKoNoVU

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Comment by Riaz Haq on January 22, 2021 at 10:10am

#China is a major global #arms-maker, meets own military needs, exports from #Pakistan to #Serbia. 4 of top 25 arms makers are #Chinese accounting for 16% of global arms sales worth $56.7 billion. Only 2 #Russian companies in top 25, just 4% of total at $13.9 billion.@NikkeiAsia https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/China-rise...


In a flashy recruitment video released by China's People's Liberation Army Air Force last week, four J-20 fighters are seen soaring through stormy skies, deftly maneuvering between lightning strikes.

Lost in the dramatic digital imagery was an important detail: For the first time ever, the Chinese jets will be powered by domestically made engines instead of Russian ones.

Beijing's decision to replace the J-20's engines, noted by the state mouthpiece Global Times, is just the latest sign that China is rapidly closing the military gap with its northern neighbor. For decades, China leaned heavily on Russian weapons to modernize its armed forces. But that has begun to change, as China builds its own powerful defense industry and even starts to challenge Moscow in the global arms market.

By some measures it may already have the advantage -- a shift likely to change the dynamics of the countries' at times awkward but increasingly close relationship.

Data published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in December puts China ahead of Russia as the world's No. 2 arms producer in the period from 2015 to 2019. The U.S. remained No. 1.

The leading arms research center found that four of the top 25 arms manufacturers in 2019 were Chinese. This quartet, three of which were in the top 10, accounted for 16% of overall arms sales and earned $56.7 billion. By contrast, only two Russian companies cracked the top 25, making up just under 4% of the total and generating $13.9 billion.

Some Russian defense industry officials and analysts dispute SIPRI's findings, arguing that it is impossible to accurately calculate China's arms sales volume since it keeps information about its military-industrial complex under wraps. They also protest SIPRI's decision exclusion of Russian state technology conglomerate Rostec, one of the country's largest arms exporters, in its top 25 ranking.

Even so, few in Moscow deny that China is gaining ground fast, not just in terms of the quantity of arms produced but also quality.

Vadim Kozyulin, director of the Asian Security Project at the PIR Center, a Moscow-based think tank, told Nikkei Asia that China has already surpassed Russia in developing unmanned aerial vehicles, certain kinds of warships and possibly even hypersonic missiles -- an area of great pride for the Kremlin in recent years.

"We see that China is producing new weapon models very rapidly, releasing a new generation every 10 years like the Soviet Union once did," he said. "Under these circumstances, it is difficult for Russia to compete because we have a smaller budget which is only decreasing."

For much of the post-Cold War period, Russia has been China's primary arms supplier.

The two neighbors began cooperating in the early 1990s, when China had just launched an ambitious campaign to upgrade the PLA's outdated weaponry. Beijing initially looked to the West as a potential source of advanced military technology, but those hopes were dashed after the U.S. and Europe imposed an arms embargo against China in response to the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

China soon found a replacement in Russia. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 devastated Russian arms manufacturers. Old sources of revenue such as domestic military spending and lucrative contracts with foreign client states quickly dried up. China's emergence as a prospective customer provided Russia's ailing defense industry with a much-needed economic lifeline.

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1352680953907343360?s=20

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 31, 2021 at 10:58am

#Pakistan's #GilgitBaltistan regional govt has proposed a new transit and trade route linking #Xinjiang to #Kashmir and extending to #Afghanistan. Will it increase #China-Pak #military interoperability against #Indian forces in the region? #Ladakh #CPEC https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/economics/article/3119850/will-new-r...

In a video posted on social media platforms this month, GB chief minister Khalid Khurshid announced plans to drill a road tunnel through the mountains to connect Astore to the Neelum Valley in the Azad Kashmir region, where much of the LOC is thinly demarcated by the Neelum and Jhelum rivers.

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Proposals floated this month by the government of the Pakistan-administered Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region primarily aim to pave the way for a new transit and trade route between China and Pakistan’s neighbours Afghanistan and Iran.
Currently, China and Pakistan are connected only by the Karakoram Highway, completed in 1978, via a single crossing in the Khunjerab Pass.
However, the route of a proposed new border road from Yarkand – on GB’s border with the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region – also suggests strong strategic motivations because it would open a new supply line from China to Pakistani forces deployed along the Line of Control (LOC).
As Pakistan, Bangladesh ties thaw, India keeps close watch on them – and China
14 Jan 2021

The 740km LOC divides Kashmir roughly into two halves governed by India and Pakistan. Its northernmost point, the India-held Siachen Glacier, is located next to the western extreme of the disputed 3,488km China-India border known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).



The GB government’s public works department was instructed on January 15 to prepare a “project concept clearance proposal” for a 10-metre-wide road capable of being used by trucks, from the Mustagh Pass on the border with the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region via the eastern GB region of Skardu, where the Siachen Glacier is located.
The proposed new road would be linked to Yarkand in Xinjiang, and enter GB 126km west of Ladakh, crossing the major supply artery from the Karakoram Highway near Skardu city. From there, it would run south through the high-altitude Deosai Plateau to the Astore Valley, where the southern flank of GB meets the LOC amid the Himalayas.

Washington-based analyst Sameer Lalwani told This Week In Asia there were potentially three logistics and strategic effects of enhanced China-Pakistan connectivity.
“It could deepen trade links by enhancing transport capacity; enable great Pakistan military mobility in any contingency, threatening India’s hold over the Siachen Glacier; and it can even facilitate greater China-Pakistan military coordination that generates peacetime dilemmas and wartime complications for India,” he said.
The proposed Xinjiang-GB-Kashmir road would “certainly ring alarm bells in New Delhi, which has been acutely sensitive to deepening China-Pakistan strategic and military ties over the past decade”, said Lalwani, who is director of the South Asia programme at the Stimson Center, a Washington-based think tank.
“It may also result in the Indian military – which has already sunk considerable resources to retain control of Siachen – concentrating an even greater proportion of money, manpower, and materiel to its continental defences at the expense of maritime power projection,” he said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 13, 2021 at 5:07pm

#PakistanArmy conducts tactical drills in Thar Desert in #Sindh, close to the #Indian border. Troops of #Karachi Corps are participating in the four-week long ‘Jidar-ul- Hadeed’ exercise in extreme desert conditions. #Pakistan #military https://tribune.com.pk/story/2283911/pakistan-army-conducts-tactica...

Troops of Pakistan Army’s Karachi Corps are practicing in tactical drills and procedures as part of exercise “Jidar-ul- Hadeed” in Thar Desert that commenced on January 28, 2021, said Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement issued on Saturday.

The military’s media wing said the four-week long defensive manoeuvre exercise is aimed at validating concept of defence in deserts.

“The exercise is being conducted in extreme desert conditions, 74 kilometers ahead of Chhor, under conventional operations setting, culminating on February 28, 2021,” read the statement.

On Friday, a week-long multinational naval exercise hosted by Pakistan started in the Arabian Sea, a move that could set the tone for its enhanced bilateral relations with many countries.

With the participation of some 45 countries in Aman-2021 from February 11-16, including the US, Russia, China, and Turkey, the drill – a biannual affair since 2007 – began with a flag-raising ceremony.

Significantly, this is the first time Russia has joined a military drill with NATO members in a decade. The last such time was in 2011, in the Bold Monarch 2011 exercise off the coast of Spain.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 7, 2021 at 11:59am

US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence’s (NSCAI) Report 2021:


America's two main adversaries are just as keenly aware of how AI supremacy could lead to battlefield supremacy and are making just as much investment into AI as the new NSCAI report recommends America does. In 2017, the Chinese government issued a statement that technological advances, including in AI, would make China the global leader by 2030. “By 2030, our country will reach a world-leading level in artificial intelligence theory, technology and application and become a principal world center for artificial intelligence innovation,” the CCP claimed. That same year, Russian President Vladimir Putin made similar comments, claiming that the path to global supremacy is paved with AI. “Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind,” Putin said. “It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.” Both Russia and China are developing their own unmanned combat aerial vehicles, and both have been accused of leveraging AI-powered cyberattacks or misinformation campaigns against the United States.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/39559/national-security-commi...

https://www.nscai.gov/2021-final-report/

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 28, 2021 at 7:42am

Saudi Air Force jets arrive in Pakistan for multinational air exercise
US Air Force will also participate, Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain will attend as observers

https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/pakistan/saudi-air-force-jets-arriv...

A Saudi Royal Air Force (RSAF) contingent arrived in Pakistan on Saturday to participate in the two-week-long multinational air exercise called ‘Aces Meet 2021-1’.

The Saudi Air Force team arrived at Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) Mushaf airbase with a number of RSAF’s Tornado combat aircraft and air, technical and support crew.

The United States Air Force (USAF) will also participate with their aircraft in the exercise along with PAF and RSAF while Jordan, Egypt and Bahrain air forces will attend as observers. Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 and JF-17 fighter jets and Saudi Air Force’s Tornado aircraft will take part in the exercise.

PAF’s Aces exercise
Aces Meet 2021-1 exercise aims to maximize the combat readiness of participating units by providing them realistic, multi-domain training and to build partnerships and interoperability among allies. “The exercise is aimed at sharing experiences and enhancing interoperability among participating air forces” with focus on role-oriented and near-realistic combat training, PAF statement said.


Pakistan hosted the first Aces exercise in 2017 in which PAF, RSAF and Turkish Air Force participated with aircraft. It focused on exploring and developing air power to contribute effectively to the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism campaigns.

PAF established the Airpower Centre of Excellence (ACE) in 2016 to transform air force capabilities to meet future challenges and to strengthen relations with friendly air forces through experience sharing and joint training. Pakistan has the seventh largest air force in the world with an active fleet of 1364 aircraft, according to 2021 world air forces report.


PAF ties with Saudi Air Force
PAF enjoys close cooperation with many countries in the Middle East and frequently participated in bilateral exercises and joint training.

Pakistan has a longstanding close relationship with Saudi Arabia dating back to the 1940s and strategic military ties formalized after a 1967 defense accord. Over the decades, Saudi Arabia stood by Pakistan during its difficult times, ensuring economic assistance and oil supply. In response, Pakistan provided military expertise and support to the kingdom for decades and also helped develop the Royal Saudi Air Force and trained its first fighter jet pilots in the 1960s.

Pakistan helps Saudi Arabia with military training, defense production and joint military exercises under a bilateral security cooperation agreement. Pakistan’s former military chief, General Raheel Sharif, is the current head of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition – an alliance of 41 states.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 12, 2021 at 12:06pm

#PAF, #RSAF #USAF conclude multinational air exercise Aces Meet 2021-1 in #Pakistan. It included multiple missions across the airpower spectrum & offered near-realistic & role-oriented training to participants amidst #COVID19 #pandemic https://www.airforce-technology.com/news/paf-rsaf-and-usaf-conclude... via @DefenceTech_Mag

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has successfully completed the multinational air exercise Aces Meet 2021-1 at PAF base Mushaf.

The two-week long exercise saw active participation from the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) and the United States Air Force (USAF).

Addressing the participants involved in the exercise, PAF Base Mushaf air commodore Ali Naeem Zahoor said the exercise provided an opportunity to learn via ‘mutual sharing of experiences’.

ACES MEET 2021-1 included multiple missions across the airpower spectrum and offered near-realistic and role-oriented training to participating members even during the challenging situations due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Members of PAK, RSAF and USAF special forces performed several Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) missions during the exercise.

According to a statement posted on Radio Pakistan, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan air forces acted as observers for the drill.

The exercise included the employment of fighter jets from the air forces of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, as well as airborne early warning and control aircraft and military satellites.

The deployed assets helped improve coordination and harmony between the ground elements and air component.

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