Artificial Intelligence is Indian Navy’s new strategic frontline – The Financial Express

  • Lauren
  • September 5, 2022
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In modern geo-politics the role of Indian Navy is going to be more challenging and its active participation could decide the place of India in global power play. The seminar “Swavlamban” chaired by the PM Modi on SPRINT Challenges on July 18th 2022, is showcasing the seriousness of New Delhi towards the strengthening the Indian Navy through the modern indigenous technologies. The presence of Chinses third generation research and survey ship “Yuan Wang 5” in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, is sufficient to explain that the Indo-Pacific is going to be future coliseum of geo-politics. And the Indian Ocean may observer more international advanced war ships and stealth submarines from global powers. It is provoking India to adopt modern cutting-edge naval technologies to protect the country’s interest and control the foreign powers. Technology is always an important agent, which decides or redefines the war parameters with some distinctive outputs. In modern warfare the Naval forces are facing hybrid warfare and simultaneously it is converting the war from human centric to technology centric. To improve the war-capabilities of Indian Navy with resilient indigenous technological ecosystem, the INIP (Indian Naval Indigenisation Plan) 2015-2030 is formulated to upgrade the state-of-art with high-end technologies. The intelligent warfare is demanding the revolution in military technologies and its appropriate deployment. 

AI the Driving force: the demanding roadmap for Indian Navy    

January 2022, a workshop on ‘Leveraging Artificial Intelligence (Al) for Indian Navy’ was organised by the INS Valsura to identify the opportunities of advanced AI technologies for Indian Navy. Intelligent technologies are redefining the navel’s warfare and enabling global powers to mutate and refresh their strategic trends. That continues technological changes could applied within the existing system or in new systems. The incremental changes in naval-war technologies do not develop in segregation. War-Machines or War-Technologies are always erect through the continues operations and continues innovation. The people-centric smart naval-war machines are gradually built on intelligent technologies, exploring AI for the future battel grounds.

The application of AI in war is extensive and it addresses the battel field challenges with more accuracy, flexibility and insightful approach. To fabricate the AI mesh for the naval-combat is the constant theme for the global naval powers and India is also drawing the journey-map towards this path. The plug-in of AI technologies with the strategic technologies could create the good amount of potential to respond the unpredictable environment. AI, deep learning, machine learning (ML) and reinforcement learning is going to be major catalyst for the next-generation warfare. The involvement of Machine Learning (ML) is enforcing the systems to perform better than the human.

Presently AI is encapsulated for the number of naval applications or technologies by most of the global powers and their competitors. The application of AI is not limited up to the deep intelligence, active surveillance and reconnaissance, supportive logistics, cyber security, effective command and control, autonomous naval systems. Advanced military powers are concentrating themselves for the deployment of AI technologies to replace the human intelligence and trying to prepare the naval machines for more complex and cognitively difficult locus with admirable self-learning situational awareness.

AI-Enabled eco-systems—the capability matrix

Systems are smarter than the operator-based systems with the quick react capabilities. System could easily analyse and manage the high-volume data with exponential growth. System has enormous capability to add-on new innovative technologies.  

But is transforming is the potential that system could actively interpret the future moves of the enemy fighting machine and competent to reduce the conflict effect.

The Indian Navy is serious about AI and advanced intelligent technologies, wants to execute with “Capability-Enhancement-Objective (C-E-O)” to increase the situational awareness and situational reactions of the sea operations. In that background, AI is a major drive for the future battles and could change the internal dynamics of the war with the broader concept.

Requirement of Future Navy

The information technology dominance over the enemy country.  It is about less use of human intelligence in the situation where the decision making is more inclined towards non-combat scenario.  

The critical requirement is for the networked and self-automated systems and subsystems.

Low-cost guided missile with good quality of proximity, responsiveness and platform independency

Vertical and/or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) Aircrafts

Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), integrated sensor network platform with missile fire capabilities

Extensive use of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), UUV (Unmanned Underwater Vehicle), XLUUV (Extra-Large unmanned undersea vehicle) and USV (Unmanned Surface Vessels) for the complex and regular operations.

Stealth Nuclear power attack submarine with intercontinental ballistic missile.    

Installation of real-time cognitive sonar network on broad sea floor.

Why AI Roadmap required by Indian Navy

The sharp digitization of naval forces could change the concept of hybrid war by the machine speed and collective use of huge number of weapon systems handled by AI.

The systems of foreign countries could be capable to determine the action for the engagement of targets. And now the incarnation of high degree of autonomous-automation naval systems is part of the strategic acquisition.  

Invariably, without the structured AI support the high-volume of strategic information could not be processed. Soon, it will be almost difficult to map such information on the existing tools with limited data matrix to decipher the ultra-complex scenario unfolding today.

The next-generation warfare is based on “Autonomous-Weapon-Systems”. It has required the sophisticated AI infrastructure to deliver the complex functions such as assessment of the situation, decision making and control without any human involvement.

AI is beginning to fully leverage the Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) and improve the capability of routine duty and resource management. Help to reduce the gaps between different potential areas.

Another critical area to focus where the AI needs greater flow in escalating the mobility of naval combat operations and so enhance the situational-control capabilities of the higher-command.

It is visible as the dimension of warfare is shaping towards the more precision war. So, the Increase of Machine-Interventions in Naval Operations, AI could easily control those machines rather than the Natural Intelligence.  AI then feeds into Resilient and Robust techno-infrastructure, adding to the experience of Information Warfare and Cyber Security

AI Transformation Tool kit for Indian Navy

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) is assured to change the complete dynamics of the world as well as military technology and it is re-writing the art of war by the intelligent and self-controlled weapons. This transformation is gradually converting the naval powers towards the AI-Naval-Powers.

The steps of AI transformation tool kit are basically the deployment of in-house pilot projects to achieve acceleration and creation of in-house active AI-Teams with AI-Capabilities.  

It involves the arrangements of AI Training for the all the stake-holders and development of long-term AI Strategy and AI Policies.  The fundamental approach is to outsource of applied AI knowledge from the Academia & Industry and identification of use-cases and encapsulation with AI-Knowledge.

Broadly, AI transformation needs to fabricate the complete alignment between the innovative AI Products for the strategic value. AI tools will change the entire dynamics on the Strategic Collision globally with competitive matrix.

The most important aspect is to design and execution of AI Framework for next-generation naval warfare. This will lead to AI-Value creation and AI-Value capture and AI-Goal content integrity for the final results.

In long term the organized AI seeds, prepared by the AI-Tool kits could enhance the strategic intelligence and it could make the organization more AI friendly with the good intensity of AI adaptation rate. The acceptability of AI could upgrade the system as intelligent amplifier.  

Future Technologies for the Naval Forces

What are elements, when we plug-in AI with the such technology clusters which could expand the capabilities of the navy? We have outlined the specific areas which starts from  the computation Capabilities.

Information and Network infrastructureSensor TechnologiesAutomation SystemAdvanced Human Performance Technologies /Augmented IntelligenceNew material design and its implementationPower SystemPropulsion SystemEnvironmental Technologies Modelling and SimulationLogisticsRapid Prototype ModellingOptimised Resource PlanningDesign of Simulated Theatre of WarFabrication of Dynamic Mission PlanningCognitive Process ModellingOceanography Modelling / Design of Highly Non-Linear models of Ocean Weather Modelling and prediction

How can we leverage AI will unfold our capability roadmap for the future conflict. What is the most important factor here as we understand the role that AI will play; it is going to alter the futuristic planning under the plan. What will it save –the cost of unnecessary military equipment but more so the cost of loosing the edge of modern warfare.

(This article has been co-authored with Amit Das who is Head of Centre for AI & Machine Learning, The ICFAI University, Dehradun)