The recent wars are bringing the future of warfare into practical utility and the impact is forcing countries to change the entire arithmetic of modern warfare. Be it the utilisation of drones in the war for Nagorno-Karabakh, by Azerbaijan against Armenia or the latest AI warfare in the Hamas-Israel conflict, the countries that had the upper hand in these technologies came out as total winners. Having relied heavily on machine learning, the Israeli military is calling the recent Israel-Hamas conflict, known as Operation Guardian of the Walls, the first artificial-intelligence war.
The Israeli military carried out heavy strikes against Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad sites in the Gaza Strip over the course of 11 days of the conflict. According to the IDF, it targeted critical infrastructure and persons affiliated with the two parties. While the military relied on what was already available in the civilian market and adapted it for military purposes in the years leading up to the fighting, the IDF developed an advanced AI technological platform that centralised all data on terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip onto a single system, allowing for intelligence analysis and extraction.
“For the first time, artificial intelligence was a key component and power multiplier in fighting the enemy,” an IDF Intelligence Corps senior officer said, “This is a first-of-its-kind campaign for the IDF. We implemented new methods of operation and used technological developments that were a force multiplier for the entire IDF.”
A senior Likud minister earlier said that Israel would pre-emptively strike the Hamas terror group in Gaza when it becomes apparent that it is restocking its rocket arsenal and gearing up to fire at Israel, as he laid out what he described as the Jewish state’s new security doctrine vis-a-vis the coastal enclave following Operation Guardian of the Walls.
While, on one hand, these deliberations are going on, on the other, after attacking Israel, Hamas has been trying to destroy Iranian backchannels. It is warned that Israel is eavesdropping on them and has asked the Palestinians to not talk about the attacks. Moreover, it is actively cracking down on Palestinians who have colluded with Israel. According to Palestinian sources in Gaza, the alert was issued to conceal the damage done to the Gaza Strip’s tunnels and weapons arsenals during Israeli airstrikes.
The Israeli military said that it adapted the AI technologies already available in the civilian market to its needs in military intelligence. An advanced AI technological platform was established to centralise all data on militant groups in the Gaza Strip onto one system to aid in the analysis and extraction of intelligence crucial for the operations, the Israeli website adds.
Because of its location in a volatile region, Israel has made significant investments in artificial intelligence (AI) and its military applications. For years, the country has placed machine learning and algorithm-driven warfare at the top of its research and development priorities. To use AI efficiently in a conflict, the system needs to be fed tonnes of raw data from satellites, aerial reconnaissance vehicles, field agents, ground intelligence, and years of data.
The IDF collects data using a variety of methods, including signal intelligence (SIGINT), visual intelligence (VISINT), human intelligence (HUMINT), geographical intelligence (GEOINT), and others, resulting in mountains of raw data that must be combed through to find the critical pieces needed to carry out a strike. “Gospel” employed AI to make recommendations for troops in Military Intelligence’s research division, which used them to create high-quality targets before passing them on to the IDF to hit.
As per the Jerusalem Post, IDF Unit 9900’s satellites have gathered GEOINT over the years. They were able to automatically detect changes in terrain in real-time so that during the operation, the military was able to detect launching positions and hit them after firing.
For example, Unit 9900 troops using satellite imagery were able to detect 14 rocket launchers that were located next to a school.
More than 150 PIJ and Hamas operatives were also terminated by the IDF, many of whom were considered senior leaders or indispensable in their professions, particularly those in charge of missile research and development. All this gives a clear picture of how Artificial Intelligence was employed and made all the difference, turning Israel into a clear winner.