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AI is taking flight in combat drones, missiles and guided artillery rounds in the Ukraine conflict as a countermeasure to effective jamming of GPS navigation systems by Russia. AI is being principally used as a visual identification system.

The AI initiative is actually coming from several quarters after a leaked Ukrainian assessment that HIMARS and Excalibur weapons systems had been “completely ineffective” due to Russian GPS jamming. A Romanian company called Oves Enterprise developed an AI navigation system called SSAI that’s being incorporated into the UK’s Storm Shadow missile, the first of what’s likely to become widespread use. OVES says its AI system also can be used with HIMARS and Excalibur guided shells. The OVES system uses AI in conjunction with thermal and radio recognition. SSAI can operate autonomously.

“SSAI proves to be an innovative solution that can offer precise targeting and striking capabilities at low cost,” company spokesperson Mihai Filip told The Defense Post. “Integrating this solution ensures that military equipment stays operational and efficient, even in the most challenging jamming conditions.”

Estonia, meanwhile, has become a hotbed of drone development. Among the drone projects linked to Ukraine is an “Angry Hedgehog” model with a nine-mile range that’s equipped with AI that guides the drone the last mile to the target to counter GPS jamming. The Angry Hedgehog” is designed to be a low cost drone that is “good enough.”

For its part, Ukraine says it is developing an AI drone that uses a neural network that analyzes cell phone signals and employs computer vision for targeting individuals. Ukrainian officials say such a drone could operate autonomously while acknowledging there would be resistance to such use among Ukraine’s allies. Ukraine already uses its “digital ears” –cellphones mounted on everything from cell towers to gas stations–to listen for enemy drones and rocket launches. The importance of drones, in particular, in the conflict is so high that Ukraine created a separate branch of its armed forces called the Unmanned Systems Forces to push drone production and innovation.

Similarly, Israel’s Aeronautics Group upgraded its well-known Orbiter 2 loitering drone with AI to serve as a visual targeting tool. The Orbiter 2 is a one-way attack drone that can “loiter” in the air for up to two hours. The Orbiter 2 is often paired with another drone that provides immediate bomb damage assessment.

On the American side, Task Force 99 of the U.S. Air Force reportedly is testing a variety of AI-equipped drones, some constructed with 3D printing for rapid, customized production, at its base in Qatar.

On the flip side of the coin, of paramount importance are handheld drone detectors, although the pace of development seems varied. Estonia wants to issue one to every squad as soon as possible, a policy in sharp contrast to U.S. Army plans to allocate 10 to every division by 2026.

One company garnering a lot of interest is New York-based ZeroMark that’s developing an AI auto-aiming technology for drone defense that can be used with modified standard-issue army rifles and carbines. ZeroMark, which is well-connected with the Israeli military, says its handheld Iron Dome combines AI with a mechanized buttstock and computer vision for friend/foe identification and real-time threat analysis.

ZeroMark believes its handheld Iron Dome project may revolutionize modern warfare as it theoretically would be a weapon that never misses. ZeroMark has attracted $7 million in seed funding from investors thus far.