Rise of AI in Defence manufacturing, production sector ecosystem behind rise of strong Indian armed forces


“Balasya Mulam Vigyanam”, Roots of Strength are in Knowledge, the lesser-known motto of DRDO holds in itself the past, present, and the future of defence development. ​​Before computing became mainstream, technology and scientific advancements were essential to militarization. Wartime advances have played a significant role in creating and commercializing the under-appreciated technology we use today. Technological innovation in Combat began with the discovery of Gunpowder, sometime in medieval China. Gunpowder led to siege fire weaponry and combat arms, with World War I, the world saw technology being introduced into vehicles and war machinery came into action. World War II became the pinnacle of technological development for War, WWII saw the invention of wartime RADAR, nuclear missiles, and the first computer. Unknown to many, the first ever computer was not digital, it was analytical and was used to translate a secret, encoded message.

Following its creation, computing became the way of the future, nations started a frantic race to develop better and faster computers to defend themselves better. Human operation was still a major factor in the deployment of these systems, and that is when AI was introduced in Defence. The first ever use of AI was done by the U.S. military, using DARPA-funded Dynamic Analysis and Replanning Tool (DART), an AI program, to schedule the transportation of supplies or personnel and to solve other logistical problems. Ever since, AI has seen its integration into multiple aspects and aesthetics of Defence eco systems. Automated manufacturing, automated surveillance, loitering drones, Integrated communications, threat analysis, and smart sentinels are few of the examples of grand AI use in Defence. It has made defence easier, and humans much safer.

Human Safety, fatigue, and error are one of the biggest inhibitors in Defence, which can either be solved by employing a higher and much skilled workforce or the introduction of Artificial Intelligence. AI in defence production and manufacturing can be the catalyst to a strong defence. Even the most basic automated systems of monitoring, automation, and testing have already yielded in enormous growth in capability and quality.

AI along with IoT will usher in the new age of Defence manufacturing and production, where demand will meet the supply perfectly. This will give confidence to our Indian Armed Forces to rely on the Indian industry for their requirements, and reduce the foreign import of weapons and equipment. A homegrown industry ensures end to end control on all aspects of a certain technology. Equipment or systems made in India can be customized to be best suited for Indian terrain and climate conditions, and can also be tweaked or modified in the future for further use. The Indian Armed forces do not have to rely on foreign OEMs to customize an otherwise off-the-shelf product for conditions specific to India, which can also be done for other nations and geographies. A strong Indian Industry gives an added edge to Indian armed forces as they can have technology that is not possessed by other nations either due to lack of access or other geo-political situations, these technologies will be Made In India, Made for India, Made by Indians. The might of Indian Armed forces is only strengthened further by a strong Indian Industry and Indian Industry specific government policies.

(The author is Mr. Sandeep Shah, Co-Founder & MD at Optimized Electrotech and the views expressed in this article are his own)

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