Here's What You Need to Remember: Whether the SVP-24 can be equipped with the AI software isn't clear, but it seems that the munitions are continuing to get smarter. Hopefully, the military leaders will remain as smart about not ever having to use them.
Since antiquity, once a weapon was developed there were soon methods to counter it. Just as the shield and armor were meant to protect a soldier from swords and spears, today there are now countermeasures designed to stop smart munitions, which were first developed during the Second World War.
While the United States has continued to develop even smarter bombs, including laser- and GPS-guided bombs, the latest efforts include those that could select targets automatically when dropped from an aircraft. Such smart munitions could maneuver in flight after being launched, but efforts have continued to counter such measures and this has included the use of jamming technology.
In what is part of a seemingly never-ending “arms race,” Russia is now reportedly developing software that is designed for use in precision munitions of defensive and offensive weapons. According to a report in TASS last week, Tecmash Group, which is part of the state tech corporation Rostec, has developed new analytical software that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) for smart munitions that could make the weapons resistant to electric warfare systems including counter-measures.
“The next-generation munitions with the function of artificial intelligence are the most effective means of destruction in a present-day battle,” Rostec Industrial Director Bekkhan Ozdoev said via a statement provided by the company's press office.
“One of the developers’ key tasks was to make the ‘smart’ core invulnerable to electronic warfare systems,” Ozdoev added. "The new software outshines Russian and foreign versions in terms of the munition's protection and renders the operation of electronic warfare systems ineffective.
The system was developed by the Novosibirsk Research Institute of Electronic Devices, which specializes in creating short-range avionics systems for munitions. Its new software could provide increased capabilities for precision munitions used by both defensive and offensive platforms. It also utilizes a new system of radio-electronic protection, which increases the accuracy of striking targets in a jamming environment. According to the press office, it allows receiving detailed information on the targets under active jamming with changing intensity.
This is just the most recent tech “upgrade” of smart munitions that Moscow has focused on. Last year, the Russian military announced the development of an improved smart bomb and the aircraft that carried the weapon. The SVP-24 was described as a system that could transform unguided conventional bombs into precision-guided weapons, similar to the U.S. Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).
However, whereas the JDAM is a guidance kit attached to an iron bomb, Russia’s SVP-24 attaches the guidance kit to the bomber itself.Russia's platform could measure multiple environmental parameters including pressure, humidity, wind speed, speed and angle of attack; and received additional information from datalinks from AWACS aircraft, ground stations, and other aircraft. The SVP-24 can also compute an ‘envelope’—including speed, altitude, course—inside which the dumb bombs are automatically released exactly at the precise moment when their unguided flight will bring them right over the target, with three to five meter accuracy.
Whether the SVP-24 can be equipped with the AI software isn't clear, but it seems that the munitions are continuing to get smarter. Hopefully, the military leaders will remain as smart about not ever having to use them.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com. This article is being republished due to reader interest.