Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Karachi Defense Expo 2022: Pakistan Military's Focus on AI, Connectivity and Drone Warfare

Pakistan displayed its latest drones at IDEAS 2022 (International Defence Exhibition and Seminar) Defense Expo held in November in Karachi. It also presented sessions on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and connectivity. The event attracted more than 50 countries, including large pavilions set up by Pakistan's closest friends China and Turkey.  The four-day IDEAS 2022 opened on November 15, 2022 at Karachi Expo Centre, bringing together 300 leading national and international defense manufacturers and over 300 foreign delegates from 57 countries.

Pakistan's Shahpar 2 Attack Drone

Shahpar 2 Drone:

On display at IDEAS 2022 was Shahpar-2 Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) attack drone  produced by Global Industrial and Defense Solutions (GIDS), a Pakistani state-owned defense conglomerate. It can fly at a maximum speed of around 222 kilometers per hour (kph) with maximum range of around 1,050 kilometers, and the data link range of 300 kilometers. It can contact satellites in day or night operations.   

Shahpar 2 drone can locate, surveil, track and attack targets.  Its Zumr-II (EO/IR) turret is an improved and lighter version of Zumr-I (EP) turret. It can also be equipped with SAR, COMINT/ELINT payload. For sensors and targeting systems drone has an internal hard-point where it carry 50 kg (110 lb) payload. (Zumr-I weighs 36.5 kg (80 lb) while Zumr-II weighs 49 kg (108 lb)). The drone has two external hard-points where it can carry laser guided weapons, AGMs 60 kg (130 lb) each. Shapar 2 has already been inducted into service with Pakistan’s Army, Navy, and Air Force. 

Pakistan Navy's Cruise Missiles: Babur, Harba and Zarb. Source: Quwa

Also on display were advanced Harbah anti-ship cruise missiles made by Pakistan's state-owned Global Industrial and Defence Solutions (GIDS) and electronic warfare system produced by National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC). The locally developed Al-Khalid tanks and modern assault rifles manufactured by Pakistan Ordinance Factories (POF) were also exhibited. Visitors also got a close look at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) JF-17 Thunder fighter jets produced jointly by China and Pakistan. 

JF-17 Block III: 

JF-Block-III is a BVR (Beyond Visual Range) multi-role fighter jet capable of firing long range air-to-air missiles like China's PL-10 and PL-15. It features active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system, making it Pakistan Air Force’s first AESA-equipped fighter aircraft. Combination of AESA radar and 120-mile range PL-15 missiles make the JF-17 Block 3 an extremely lethal fighter for beyond visual range combat, considerably more capable than any fighter in Pakistani service including the F-16.  It also has a new electronic warfare system, upgraded avionics including a three-axis fly-by-wire digital flight control system, and a helmet-mounted display and sight (HMDS) system. With its new integrated sensor package, the aircraft will have the capability for quick information sharing and network-enabled operations that facilitate earlier detection and interception of enemy aircraft. 

Pakistan JF-17 Block 3 Fighter Jet


Chinese and Turkish Pavilions:

Pakistan’s longtime allies China and Turkey had the largest foreign presence at IDEAS 2022. Chinese state-run defense conglomerate China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO) displayed missiles and weapon systems including the Red Arrow 9A anti-tank guided missile.  

Turkey displayed a scale model of its fifth-generation fighter, codenamed the TF-X, at Pakistan’s IDEAS expo 2022. Over two dozen Turkish defense manufacturers participated in Pakistan’s IDEAS defense expo this year. 

Top Turkish defense manufacturers, including Roketsan, state-run STM and ASFAT, showcased their products ranging from modern armed drones to tactical mini-UAV systems. Turkish Aerospace exhibited the models of the T129 ATAK helicopter, Gokbey multirole helicopter, Gokturk-2 observation satellite, as well as Anka unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and Aksungur medium-altitude long-range endurance (MALE) UAV.

AI and Connectivity:   

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) launched a Cognitive Electronic Warfare (CEW) program in 2020 at its Center for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC). Modern connected weapon systems generate vast amounts of data requiring artificial intelligence and machine learning software for speedy analysis and rapid decision-making on the battlefield.  

A seminar titled ‘Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Defence Market: A Paradigm Shift in Military Strategy and National Security’ was organized as part of IDEAS-22. Also discussed was ‘One Network’, an advanced communication project, under which 3,000 kilometers of underground fibre optic cable is being laid along the motorways in Pakistan.  

An example of connectivity and integration was demonstrated in Operation Swift Retort against India in February 2019. The success of this operation was the result of combat-proven PAF fighters which are fully integrated with the air defense system (e.g. AWACS), and are mutually data-linked, alongside all AEW (Airborne Early Warning) and ground sensors. 

Rethink After Ukraine War:

The war in Ukraine is forcing a defense strategy rethink in countries around the world. This is particularly true of  countries such as India that rely mainly on Russian equipment and training. Hindustan Times has quoted an unnamed former Indian Army Chief as saying:  “War videos available show that the Russian Army has tactical issues in Ukraine war. Tell me, which tank formation goes to war in a single file without air or infantry cover when the opponent is equipped with the best anti-tank guided missile like Javelin or Turkish Bayraktar TB2 missile firing drones? There is question on Russian air supremacy with Ukraine Army armed with shoulder fired Stinger surface to air missiles as well as the night fighting capability of the Russian Air Force.”

47 comments:

Junaid said...

Country need to focus more on crop production and food security. Pak has nuclear capabilities & no one can dare to attack on sovereignty of Pak. We can’t survive just on weapon exports, focus should be on food, agriculture & livestock. They already gone 15 yrs behind in agri

Riaz Haq said...

Junaid: "Country need to focus more on crop production and food security. Pak has nuclear capabilities & no one can dare to attack on sovereignty of Pak"

Over reliance on nuclear weapons alone is extremely dangerous because it will lead to quick escalation in the event of war. Pakistan needs to modernize its capabilities to fight conventional war & war on #terror as well as its domestic economy as are other large countries.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s Integrated Dynamics Reveals Pseudo-Satellite Project

https://quwa.org/2019/12/16/pakistans-integrated-dynamics-reveals-pseudo-satellite/


Integrated Dynamics, a privately-owned company in Pakistan, revealed that it was developing its own line of High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) platforms in the form of solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) at the 2019 Dubai Air Show, which took place in 17-21 November.

Integrated Dynamics’ first HAPS UAV, which is listed in the company’s product portfolio, carries the name SOLARIS. The SOLARIS offers an operational range of 200 km at line-of-sight (LOS), which is extendable to over 1,000 km, and can operate at an altitude of 6-10 km (i.e., 19,500+ ft to 32,800+ ft).

Marketed as a low-cost civilian UAV, which will reportedly cost under $100,000, the SOLARIS has a mass of 13 kg and can operate in the air for up to 24 hours. Integrated Dynamics is now working on increasing the SOLARIS’ endurance to up to four days, but it is not known when this version will be available.

Integrated Dynamics is also working on the STRATOS, a larger design that will be capable of operating at up to 22 km (72,000+ ft) and reportedly stay in the air at up to four months at a time, which could make it at-par with some industry-leading designs. The STRATOS is to carry a payload of up to 12 kg,

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

ISRO with collaboration with its government has made so much progress in space science . Where does SUPARCO stands ?

As far as the IT sector of Pakistan is concerned what level of research work is being done in Pakistan specially in the field of IT or Cyber security and Cloud computing ?

How many IT security experts or IT security professionals are their in Pakistan ?

How many of the IT security experts in Pakistan even know about reverse engineering , social engineering and threat modelling ?
Do you know how badly Pakistan is lagging behind in the index of GLOBAL CYBER SECURITY ?

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

No doubt defence and security sector of any country is very important and sensitive sector and the government of the countries must focus on it . The government of Pakistan must also focus on it but does it mean that they must limit what ever work or research they are doing in the field of IT by confining it to millitary and defence ?

What is the application of technology specially IT in different civil sectors of Pakistan like health , medical science , agriculture and construction ?

Except for criticing and blaiming America and other countries and by throwing everything on “ ISREAL AND AMERICA KEE SAZISH “ . What else do people in Pakistan even know ?

Even American high commissioner in Islamabad sent a tweet message some years ago and he said that even he is surprised to know that when ever he visits any hotel or restaurant in Islamabad or in any city of Pakistan , he hear people talking about American and Isreali consiperacy . He says it is true that America does or might have influence over some matters of Pakistan and not just in Pakistan but America has influence over many countries but it doesn’t mean that America is completely involved in every matters of Pakistan .

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad: "What is the application of technology specially IT in different civil sectors of Pakistan like health , medical science , agriculture and construction ?"

This post I wrote was about Defense Expo and it focuses on defense applications.

Defense applications have driven new tech development in the US which later gets applied in civilian applications.

I have previously written about an AI center at NED University in Karachi and AI use by a company called Affiniti in customer relations software in Lahore.

https://www.riazhaq.com/search?q=AI

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

According to my limited understanding and knowledge their are atleast 150 Universities in Pakistan which are located in different cities and I think their are even more Universities in Pakistan then the one I have mentioned , out of all these Universities . Their is only 1 University of NED which has a research department for AI?

As far I know their are many Universities in Pakistan where bachelors and masters degrees are offered in computer science and IT . Don’t you think that such kind of AI research departments must also be setup in other universities ?

Sir I hope you remember I talked about quantum computing as well , how many Universities in Pakistan have research department for quantum computing ?


Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

I agree with you to great extent , what ever research work which is done in the millitary and defence sector , it has led to creation or development of technologies which are used and applied in civil sector .

But that is only happening in western countries specially in America .

Radars , atomic bombs , computers and internet are all products which eventually came into existence after research work which was done in the millitary and defence of America .

Internet was invented in DARPA which is a research department in millitary and defence of America .

The GPS ( Global Positioning System ) which we see now being used in IT was invented by US Navy .

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad: "Their is only 1 University of NED which has a research department for AI?"

No, absolutely not. I'm sure there are many. Universities like NUST, FAST and UET do research as well. I see many grads from these universities working here at major tech companies in Silicon Valley.

https://ncai.nust.edu.pk/

https://www.nu.edu.pk/program/bs(ai)

https://kics.edu.pk/web/

You should do your own research to learn more about it.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

Do you know how much biases people in Pakistan have against America and other countries ? I have read the comments of many people , all they do is criticise America and Isreal for all the miseries and mess with this country is going through .

Do you think that Pakistan can really make progress when the people in Pakistan have such negative feelings in their heart for Western countries . If those countries are so bad according to Pakistani mindset then why Pakistani authorities take lot of financial aid from America ?

Why Pakistanis stand in the line of American embassies to get visit visas or immigration if those countries are so bad ?

Why parents in Pakistan send their children to America for higher studies ?

Why this double standard ?

If this nation can do all this , have the people of Pakistan specially the government in Pakistan ever realised that how much Pakistan can benefit from America if the government of Pakiatan collaborates with American government in the field of education , science and technology ?

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad: "Do you know how much biases people in Pakistan have against America and other countries ? I have read the comments of many people , all they do is criticise America and Isreal for all the miseries and mess with this country is going through"

Anti-Americanism is not unique to Pakistan; it exists in all parts of the world, including Europe. https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-us-anti-american-biden-trade-gas-weapons-economy-inflation-reduction-act/

Some of it justified based on US policies and actions around the world that end up hurting many people.

Some of the most strident critics of US policy are prominent Americans like Noam Chomsky and Jeffrey Sachs.

https://www.jeffsachs.org/


SAMIR SARDANA said...

DRONE WAR IS THE FUTURE - AIR/LAND AND SEA !

AS IRANIAN DRONES IN UKRAINE HAVE PROVEN ! AND TURKS IN NAGORNO

THE SHAHED 136 DRONES,ARE THE IDEAL DRONES FOR UKRAINE,AND SEEM TAILOR MADE FOR UKRAINE!

THEY HAVE A 100 KM RADIUS - WHICH MEANS THAT,THEY CAN BE LAUNCHED,100 KMS INTO RUSSIA AND BELARUS,BEYOND NATO RT
THEY HAVE ALMOST NO METALLIC CONTENT, AND SO,NO RCS
THEY FLY LOW,BELOW THE GBR RADIUS
THEY ARE SINGLE USE KAMIKAZE,SO THE FUEL AND AMMO,IS PLANNED FOR THE DRONE " NOT TO RETURN"
THEY ARE LOITERING DRONES WITH NO AI - WHICH RELAYS THE VIDEOS TO THE OPERATOR IN RUSSIA- SO THERE ARE,NO PRESET COORDINATES
THEY ARE BASED ON ATTRITION WAR TO ATTRITE AND DEGRADE THE RADARS
THEY CHANGE THE COST-BENEFIT EQUATION,TO MAKE THE LOW COST DRONES, TOO EXPENSIVE,TO SHOOT DOWN
NATO ADS IS DESIGNED FOR JETS AND CHOPPERS AND NOT IRANIAN DRONES
THE PAYLOAD IS IN TIP,LIKE THE DOPPLER RADAR ON A BOEING - AND STILL THE UKRAINE ARMY CANNOT SHOOT IT DOWN
THE IRANIAN DRONES ARE SLOW AND NOISY - AND STILL THE NATO CANNOT SHOOT IT DOWN ?

IRANIANS ARE TRAINING THE RUSSIANS, AND ALL THAT REMAINS IS TO LICENSE IT TO PUTIN.dindooohindoo.SHAHED IS AN IMPROVEMENT,OVER THE SAMAD DRONES OF YEMEN (SUPPLIED BY IRAN).THE SAMAD DRONES WERE USED ON ARAMCO,AND NATO HAD NO SOLUTION !

WHEN WILL THE PAKISTAN-PERSIA,TURKISH ALLIANCE SHARE DEFENSE TECH ?

WHEN WILL PAKISTAN LIBERATE KASHMIR FROM THE INDIAN MONGRELS ?

WHAT KIND OF A FOOL WILL EAT DONKEY MEAT AT 10USD /KG AND DRINK DONKEY MILK AT 125 USD/LITRE ?

ANSWER = ONLY AN INDIAN MONKEY

https://www.news18.com/news/india/steel-like-body-asthma-cure-donkey-meat-milk-in-high-demand-as-superstition-grips-andhra-6492559.html

THAT IS Y THE INDIAN MONKEYS HAVE CHOSEN A MONKEY AS THEIR KING ! CHAIWALA !

THIS IS THE FOR PAKISTAN TO STRIKE ! WHEN CONGI WAS IN POWER - THEY KNEW THE ACUTE LIMITATIONS OF INDIA AND THE INDIAN MILITARY !

THIS MONKEY CHAIWALA IS IN MOUNT MERU ! THE SON OF A DISHWASHER WAS IN OPEN CARRIAGE,IN GOO-JA-RAT, WITH NO SHIELD ! A KAMIKAZE DRONE,CAN TAKE OUT,THIS APE !

ONLY PAKISTAN CAN SENT THIS APE TO THE PAKISTAN ZOO OR MERGE WITH THE ATOMS OF THE ATOMISTS - DEMOCRITUS AND LEUCIPPUS

Riaz Haq said...

Turkey has unveiled its indigenously developed AESA radar that will be integrated into the F-16 fighter jets, among other manned and unmanned aircraft in the Turkish Air Force.

https://eurasiantimes.com/trailing-rafale-jets-turkey-develops-own-aesa-radar-for-its-f-16

The spokesperson for President Tayyip Erdogan recently announced that the process of the United States authorizing the sale of F-16 fighter jets to NATO member Turkey is progressing and could be completed in upcoming months.

However, Turkey seems to have taken upon itself the responsibility to upgrade its F-16 fleet with domestically built radars.

The president of Defense Industries, Ismail Demir, unveiled the new Aselsan AESA radar on November 10 and stated that the Turkish Air Force’s (TuAF) Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft, the Akinci unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), as well as the upcoming Turkish Fighter Experimental (TF-X)/National Combat Aircraft, will be retrofitted with the system.

“It is a radar project equivalent to the most advanced radars in the world at the moment,” Demir said at the event. While the F-16s have been in the Turkish fleet for decades, the delivery of Akinci UAV twin-engined UAV is just getting started. The TF-X/MMU is Turkey’s next-generation combat aircraft currently under development.

In March this year, a local Turkish portal informed that the F-16 active electronically scanned array [AESA] radar prototype developed by Aseslan was expected to be delivered by the end of this year. The report could not be corroborated at the time.

According to some sources, the development and integration of the AESA radar on the F-16 are one of the many upgrades in the modernization program undertaken by Turkey.

The single-seat C and twin-seat D variants of the F-16 are the cornerstones of the TuAF’s front-line combat aviation force. The domestic industry has conducted much of the upgrades on these fighters.

The need to upgrade the F-16 fighters becomes all the more important due to the growing might of the Hellenic Air Force with its acquisition of advanced fighter jets. Turkey remains locked in tensions with its Aegean Sea rival Greece, with the possibility of a spillover never being ruled out.

---

The RBE2 radar allows high levels of situational awareness with early detection and tracking of multiple targets, thus denying an aerial advantage to the enemy.

Speaking on a CNN Türk show, military editor and analyst Özay Şendir admitted that Greece is gaining a significant advantage with its new fighters.

Besides operating the advanced 4+ gen Rafales, Greece could also acquire the F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighter jets. It is only evident that Ankara is looking to add more teeth to its existing fighter fleet.

In June this year, the US Air Force and Northrop Grumman announced the conclusion of a significant modernization project that installed powerful new AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array radars on 72 Air National Guard Block 30 F-16C Viper fighter jets.

At the time, it was informed these AESA radars, known as Scalable Agile Beam Radars or SABRs, were being ordered for hundreds more Air Force F-16s and other Vipers around the globe.

Announcing the breakthrough, Northrop Grumman’s Mark Rossi said, “It’s the closest thing an F-16 can get to F-35 performance within the limitations of the jet.”

Any AESA would be a significant improvement for Air Force F-16C/Ds and other Vipers around the world.

In general, AESA radars provide substantial advantages regarding target acquisition speed, the range at which threats and potential threats can be detected, and the precision and fidelity of the ensuing tracks, especially for smaller objects. They are significantly more reliable, resulting in more “up time” and better jamming resistance.

AESA radars are produced indigenously only by a handful of countries, and now, Turkey has joined the elite club. With the US sale still uncertain, Turkey seems alive to its challenges and is consistently taking upgrades to face the ensuing Greek threat.

Riaz Haq said...

The Turkish defence electronics vendor Aselsan confirmed through its Annual Yearbook for 2017 that the ASELPOD advanced targeting pod was successfully integrated to and tested from the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter in 2017. The PAF ordered eight ASELPODs for $25 million US from Aselsan in 2016, with deliveries occurring in November 2016 as well as September and February 2017.

https://quwa.org/2018/07/23/aselsan-confirms-aselpod-integration-on-pakistani-jf-17/

Riaz Haq said...

Aselsan’s software defined radios (SDR), which are radios with software-driven functions (e.g. signal processing, have been exported to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia with local production and customization. As with the competition, Aselsan markets its SDRs as encrypted and jam-resistant solutions.

In Pakistan, Aselsan SDRs have been co-produced at the National Radio Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) since 2013-2014. In Saudi Arabia, these SDRs are being co-produced locally at Military Industries Corporation (MIC), of which Aselsan is a co-owner. Aselsan assisted MIC with developing its own radio waveforms and software platform, which will enable Riyadh to yield control over the platform.

It appears a comparable package (to the Pakistan and Saudi programs) is being offered to Ukraine. Aselsan SDR suites come in multiple products, such as the PRC/VRC-9661, which can be supplied as a manpack radio (10W), vehicular radio (10W/50W) and base station radio (50W). In terms of financing, the Turkish government is intent on developing the mechanism to drive its exports (it is piloting a $400 million U.S. credit program for the MILGEM Ada corvette sale to Pakistan).

Rk singh said...

Riaz Bhai, there is no doubt, Russian weapons are no match to American or European ones. Yet, "Battle of Longewala" should be a reminder (this war is thought in all military schools around the world as a case study). Person behind the weapon matters. Russian soldiers were not supportive of the war from day-1. So they are taking so many Causalities. If the soldier is not willing, no leader can win wars.

Riaz Haq said...

RK: " Person behind the weapon matters. Russian soldiers were not supportive of the war from day-1"

Yes, "Person behind the weapon matters". That's why India can not overcome Pakistan in spite of its huge numerical advantage.

Has Pakistan lost all wars to India? Indian defense analyst Pravin Sawhney says NO! In fact, Sawhney argues that Pakistan has never lost to India. Not in 1965, nor in 1971 nor Kargil!!

In an interview with Pakistani journalist Israr Kasana that was published on YouTube on June 3, 2020, Pravin asserted that "Pakistan has never lost (to India) in any war, be it 1965 or 1971 or any other." "If Pakistan had lost, there would be no line-of-control or ceasefire line on the ground," he added. Here's more from that interview:

"If Pakistan had lost we (India) would have erased the LOC...why do I say that? I have explained it in my book. Pakistan has been strong in the western sector. It's a myth that Pakistan is weak, a myth that Pakistan itself perpetrates...India says we (India) are strong when in fact it is not.....CPEC is extremely important...China will share a lot of military capability with Pakistan....China shares platforms and assures unlimited supply of spare parts which is crucial in war...China and Pakistan do frequent joint military exercises...to assure interoperability.

Riaz Haq said...

Ignite Conducts Karachi Qualifier Round of Digital Pakistan Cybersecurity Hackathon 2022

https://propakistani.pk/2022/12/02/ignite-conducts-karachi-qualifier-round-of-digital-pakistan-cybersecurity-hackathon-2022/


Ignite National Technology Fund, a public sector company with the Ministry of IT & Telecom, conducted the qualifier round of Digital Pakistan Cybersecurity Hackathon 2022 in Karachi on 1st December 2022 after conducting qualifier rounds at Quetta and Lahore.

The Cybersecurity Hackathon aims to improve the cybersecurity readiness, protection, and incident response capabilities of the country by conducting cyber drills at a national level and identifying cybersecurity talent for public and private sector organizations.

Dr. Zain ul Abdin, General Manager Ignite, stated that Ignite was excited about organizing Pakistan’s 2nd nationwide cybersecurity hackathon in five cities this year. The purpose of the Cyber Security Hackathon 2022 is to train and prepare cyber security experts in Pakistan, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Asim Shahryar Husain, CEO Ignite, said, “The goal of the cybersecurity hackathon is to create awareness about the rising importance of cybersecurity for Pakistan and also to identify and motivate cybersecurity talent which can be hired by public and private sector organizations to secure their networks from cyberattacks.”

“There is a shortage of 3-4 million cybersecurity professionals globally. So this is a good opportunity for Pakistan to build capacity of its IT graduates in cybersecurity so that they can boost our IT exports in future,” he added.

Chief guest, Mohsin Mushtaq, Additional Secretary (Incharge) IT & Telecommunication, said, “Digital Pakistan Cybersecurity Hackathon is a step towards harnessing the national talent to form a national cybersecurity response team.”

“Ignite will continue to hold such competitions every year to identify new talent. I would like to congratulate CEO Ignite and his team for holding such a marathon competition across Pakistan to motivate cybersecurity students and professionals all over the country,” he added.

Top cybersecurity experts were invited for keynote talks during the occasion including Moataz Salah, CEO Cyber Talents, Egypt, and Mehzad Sahar, Group Head InfoSec Engro Corp, who delivered the keynote address on Smart InfoSec Strategy.

Panelists from industry, academia, and MoITT officials participated in two panel discussions on “Cyber Threats and Protection Approaches” and “Indigenous Capability & Emerging Technologies” during the event.

The event also included a cybersecurity quiz competition in which 17 teams participated from different universities. The top three teams in the competition were awarded certificates.

41 teams competed from Karachi in the Digital Pakistan Cybersecurity Hackathon 2022.

The top three teams shortlisted after the eight-hour hackathon were: “Team Control” (Winner); “Revolt” (1st Runner-up); and “ASD” (2nd Runner-up).

These top teams will now compete in the final round of the hackathon in Islamabad later this month.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s JF-17 Block-3 Fighter Surfaces With ‘Deadly’ Upgrades; German Expert Compares With India’s LCA Tejas

https://eurasiantimes.com/pakistans-jf-17-block-3-fighter-surfaces-with-deadly-upgrades/


Reported to share some of the technology from China’s J-20 ‘Mighty Dragon’ stealth fighter, the JF-17 is expected to replace the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) aging fleet of Chengdu F-7 and Dassault Mirage-III/V.

The JF-17 Thunder is a medium-sized multi-role fighter plane developed jointly by China’s Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). The service has inducted more than 100 Thunder jets since 2007. Of these, 26 are Block II variants that were added in 2020.

JF-17 Thunder Block-3
A photo of a pilot inside the cockpit of a JF-17 Block III/JF-17C wearing a Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) similar to the ones J-20 pilots have been shown wearing in leaked images and official pictures and videos is the first indication of the rapid evolution of the jet.

An HMD beams all vital flight information that is usually shown on the screens and displayed directly on the visor in the cockpit.

This reduces the stress of flying and allows the pilot to focus more on the combat component of the mission. It is also one of the major systems a plane must possess to be counted in the Generation 4++ category.

Many social media discussion forums have claimed increased use of carbon fiber composites in the newer variants, which reduces the aircraft’s weight.

A report in Pakistan’s Express Tribune quoted an unnamed official of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) saying, “further upgradation (of the jet) is in progress.” The report came from the recently concluded International Defense Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) 2022 in Karachi.

The first images of the first batch of the JF-17C/Block III in serial production paint scheme fresh off the assembly line surfaced on the web in January this year. The photos showed seven JF-17s outside the PAC facility in Kamra.

A report on leading defense aviation portal Aviacionline said that while the picture showed eleven JF-17s, the serial numbers of the jets indicate they could be eleven units.

The JF-17C/Block III is thought to have taken to the skies for the first time in December 2019. The PL-10E, which China describes as its most advanced short-range air-to-air missile, was also spotted being carried by the JF-17 Block 3/JF-17C in 2021.

The JF-17C has notable upgraded capabilities, such as Missile Approach Warning Systems (MAWS), Wide Angle Smart HUD, more hard points on the chin, and an integrated electronic warfare (EW) suite.

Another photograph that has gained popularity on the internet is thought to be the finest image of a PAF JF-17C. The photo was tweeted by noted Chinese military aviation expert Andreas Rupprecht.

A military expert in Beijing was quoted by Global Times in a 2021 report, “With the PL-10, the JF-17 Block III will gain tremendous dogfight capability and have an edge even against its heavier opposing counterparts in homeland air defense.”

The aircraft is equipped with KLJ-7A airborne active electronically scanned array (AESA) fire-control radar. There were previous reports that the JF-17 is poised to get some of the technology, avionics, and electronics used on the J-20, but it remained unconfirmed until now.

While the extent of the overlapping technology the JF-17C might share with the J-20 is unclear, reports and photographs indicate the claims were not entirely false.

The new jets boast improved “high off-boresight” capability. The “aircraft can fire from whatever position, and its missiles will adjust thrust, speed, and trajectory to hit targets.”

Asked whether the JF-17C/Block III is on part with India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Andreas Rupprecht, a Germany-based Chinese military aviation expert, wondered if the Tejas can match the Thunder.


Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

It is good to see that SDR(Software Defined Radios) are being designed and developed . Don’t you think this concept has been taken from SDN(Software Defined Networks)?

Just as in SDN(Software Defined Networks ), we see how network is designed , checked troubleshooted and tested before it is practically implemented in the physical environment .

So I think we can also use Software Defined Radios, to test , troubleshoot , design radios before they are manufactured or created .

I think these software defined radios are simply softwares which are having functionality of a radio and they are simply installed in the computer system and if the computer has internet service running on it , these softwares can connect to the internet and provide radio type service to the users .

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

It’s good to see that such kind of events are being held in Pakistan in which issues related to cyber security in Pakistan will be discussed .

According to a teacher of our University when Pakistani authorities started to focus on IT , they neglected this very important and sensitive sector called IT security or cyber security .

According to him out of 100% of the organizations like banks , government offices , insurance companies and etc in Pakistan ,90% of these organizations don’t have strong setup of IT security in frastructure.

He says that IT or cyber security posture in Pakistan is very weak .

Riaz Haq said...

The Turkish Drone That Changed the Nature of Warfare

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/05/16/the-turkish-drone-that-changed-the-nature-of-warfare

The TB2 has now carried out more than eight hundred strikes, in conflicts from North Africa to the Caucasus. The bombs it carries can adjust their trajectories in midair, and are so accurate that they can be delivered into an infantry trench. Military analysts had previously assumed that slow, low-flying drones would be of little use in conventional combat, but the TB2 can take out the anti-aircraft systems that are designed to destroy it. “This enabled a fairly significant operational revolution in how wars are being fought right now,” Rich Outzen, a former State Department specialist on Turkey, told me. “This probably happens once every thirty or forty years.”

Much of the drones’ battlefield experience has come against Russian equipment. Russia and Turkey have a complicated relationship: Russia is a key trading partner for Turkey, Turkey is a popular holiday destination for Russian tourists, and Russia is overseeing the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, which, when completed, will supply a tenth of the country’s electricity. In 2017, Turkey angered its allies in natowhen it bought a Russian missile system, triggering U.S. sanctions. Still, both Turkey and Russia are seeking to restore their standings as world powers, and even before the war in Ukraine they were often in conflict.

In the Libyan civil war, Turkey and Russia backed opposing factions, and the TB2 faced off against Russia’s Pantsir-S1, an anti-aircraft system that shoots missiles at planes and can be mounted on a vehicle. At least nine Pantsirs were destroyed; so were at least twelve drones.

Another theatre opened in the Caucasus in 2020, when Azerbaijan attacked the ethnic-Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. Last month, I met Robert Avetisyan, the Armenian representative to the United States from Nagorno-Karabakh, at a café in Glendale, California. Avetisyan told me, “During the first several days, Azerbaijan was not successful, in anything, until the Turkish generals took the joysticks.” Armenia has a security alliance with Russia, which provides most of its military equipment, some dating to the Soviet era. For six weeks, TB2 drones bombarded that equipment relentlessly; one independent analysis tallied more than five hundred targets destroyed, including tanks, artillery, and missile-defense systems. “We lost the air war,” Avetisyan said. TB2s also targeted Armenian troops, and footage of these strikes was shared by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense. A six-minute compilation of the videos, posted to YouTube midway through the war, shows dozens of variations on the same scene: Armenian soldiers, cowering in trenches or huddled around transport trucks, alerted to their impending death by the hiss of an incoming bomb before a blast sends their bodies hurtling through the air.

Riaz Haq said...

#Ukraine strikes #Russian air bases again with #drones, exposing #Russia's #air #defense vulnerability. Experts say it doesn't bode well for Russians' war fighting capability against #US, #NATO #drone https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/12/06/ukraine-drones-russian-airfield-attacks/

A drone strike attributed to Ukraine rocked an airfield inside Russia on Tuesday, demonstrating once again Ukraine’s ability to reach into Russian territory one day after its forces struck two other air bases hundreds of miles inside Russia.

The attacks have revealed major vulnerabilities in Russia’s air defenses and sent a signal to Moscow that its strategic assets far from the active combat zone are not off limits to the emboldened Ukrainian military.

Officials in the Russian city of Kursk, just north of Ukraine, said the Tuesday drone attack set an oil storage tank ablaze at an airfield.

The two airfields struck by drones on Monday — the Engels-2 base in the Saratov region and the Dyagilevo base in Ryazan, a few hours’ drive from Moscow — are home to jet bombers that can carry conventional missiles used to target Ukrainian infrastructure but can also carry nuclear weapons and normally serve as an important component of Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent.

Ukraine did not officially claim responsibility for the attacks and has been deliberately cryptic about its role in several explosions at strategically important Russian military sites in recent months.

But a senior Ukrainian official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive operation, told The Washington Post on Tuesday that all three attacks were carried out by Ukrainian drones.

“These were Ukrainian drones — very successful, very effective,” the official said of the strikes. The official added that the Russians have “sowed the seeds of anger, and they’ll reap the whirlwind.”

The Russian Defense Ministry blamed the Monday attacks on Kyiv but said the damage done was minimal.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan launches first locally built assault boat
By Usman Ansari

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2022/12/13/pakistan-launches-first-locally-built-assault-boat/

Pakistan’s Bahria Boat Building Yard launched its first 12T marine assault boat on Dec. 5 at its Karachi facility as part of a technology transfer deal with Polish shipbuilder Techno Marine.

The deal represents Techno Marine’s expanding presence in Pakistan; the company previously supplied 30 Chaser TM-1226 rigid inflatable boats for Pakistan’s naval special forces.

The contract for the marine assault boats was signed in 2018, but verifiable public information is limited. Available information notes the delivery in 2019 of two 12T vessels.

However, a spokesman with Bahria Boat Building Yard told Defense News the Pakistan Navy ordered 18 12T boats made up of two types. The Karachi Naval Dockyard is building those powered by outboard engines, and the Navy hired Bahria to make those powered by water jets. Bahria is currently building the remaining three of four vessels it is currently contracted to produce.

The spokesman also said efforts are underway to secure more domestic customers for the Bahria-built boats.

Around the 2003-2004 time frame, Thailand’s Marsun shipyard supplied M-16 fast assault boats — similar to the 12T — and the design for Pakistan’s locally built Jurrat-class missile boats. However, the M-16 vessels no longer meet the Pakistan Navy’s requirements.

The Bahria spokesman said the 12T “is for surveillance, policing purposes and [is] extremely swift in handling, as required, to operate in restricted/Creek areas,” but also around other sensitive areas such as the main naval base in Ormara and the commercial port of Gwadar.

The “Creek areas” refers to the disputed border with India around the Sir Creek, where the land border reaches the Arabian Sea. The tidal estuary is formed of marshland and shifting creeks. Conflicting claims over the border have resulted in a disputed maritime boundary in the Arabian Sea shaped like a large triangle, within which may be subsea energy resources.

Though the Pakistan Marines service patrols the Creeks area with British-built Griffon hovercraft, the 12T would enable a more effective patrolling presence into the disputed area of sea.

The 12T is equipped with twin inboard Cummins-powered Hamilton water jets. It can reach 42 knots (48 mph). It is also equipped with a navigational suite from British company Raymarine, and features ballistic protection by Danish company Scanfiber Composites.

Riaz Haq said...

Ukraine War Lessons For India: Big Wars Are Back, Terrorism Takes A Backseat

https://www.outlookindia.com/national/ukraine-war-lessons-for-india-big-wars-are-back-terrorism-takes-a-backseat-weekender_story-245921?prev

Defence analysts say that the two lessons from the Ukraine War are that, one, the big wars are back and terrorism has taken a backseat, and, two, the superiority of Western weapons is apparent from how Russian advances have been stalled by West-backed Ukraine.

When Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, it was supposed to be a short war to be ended in a few days with the capture of Ukrainian capital Kyiv. Now even after 11 months, the war is on and military strategists across the world are trying to draw lessons from it as the Ukraine War has transformed modern warfare.

Indian defense analysts say India has to learn a lot from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, ranging from whether to use nuclear weapons on the battlefield and when to use them and whether to be in an alliance or not. They agree that terrorism no longer is an issue in the great power game and it has become a side issue while the war assumed prime position.

Defense analyst Pravin Sawhney says the first lesson from the Russia-Ukraine war is that big wars are back.

“Contrary to the claims of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the era of the war is over, the reality is opposite of what Modi said — the big wars are back,” Sawhney tells Outlook.

Meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit (SCO Summit) in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand, Modi had told Putin, “I know that today’s era is not an era of war, and I have spoken to you on the phone about this.”

Modi said democracy, diplomacy, and dialogue have kept the world together. Sawhney, whose latest book is The Last War: How AI Will Shape India’s Final Showdown With China, has been for long arguing that the Indian military is preparing for the wrong war. He says terrorism has taken a backseat in the great power game struggle and it is a side issue for the United States. The USA fought terrorism for 20 years but now it is not a major issue for them but the war is, says Sawhney.

He tells Outlook, “The war now will not be limited to battle space. It will be fought in the war zone and the whole nation could be a battle zone. We have seen cyberattacks, and we have seen Russians attack power stations and various other facilities. That is why I am saying wars will be fought all over the nation and communication will be a key issue as warring nations will try to keep their communication lines intact while disrupting the other.”

Sawhney says that Russia was the first to disrupt communication facilities in Ukraine. But later the arrival of Starlink satellite internet terminals made by Elon Musk’s SpaceX solved Ukraine’s communication problems. Starlink has been a vital source of communication for Ukraine’s military, allowing it to fight and stay connected even as cellular phone and internet networks have been destroyed in its war with Russia.

“If Starlink would have not provided communication, Ukraine would have been blinded in the war. This happens when the fight is between two equal powers. Here it is between Russia and NATO, so when the fight is between two major powers, it will be protracted war,” Sawhney argues.

“Recently Indian Army Chief said long protracted wars are back. But we must understand that they are back between the two major powers not between the two countries having huge disparity,” argues Sawhney citing example of China and India. He says every country has major red lines and these red lines have to be identified. “NATO expansion was a red line for Russia and this red line was known to all.”

Similarly, Sawhney urges that there needs to be an understanding of what Sun Weidong, who was the Chinese Ambassador to India till recently and is the Vice Foreign Minister of China, stated in his last press conference in New Delhi. Sun Weidong made Chinese red lines known in that press conference and it is the One-China policy, says Sawhney.

Riaz Haq said...

Ukraine War Lessons For India: Big Wars Are Back, Terrorism Takes A Backseat

https://www.outlookindia.com/national/ukraine-war-lessons-for-india-big-wars-are-back-terrorism-takes-a-backseat-weekender_story-245921?prev


Fifty-six-year old Sun, who recently returned to Beijing after a stint of over three years in New Delhi, in his rare briefing in New Delhi had said that the India-China relationship was based on the “One China” principle and called on India to “reiterate” it. Earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had called on all parties not to change the status quo over Taiwan, which appeared to be aimed at China for crossing the median line in recent military exercises.

“It is very clear that it is the US that has altered the status quo and undermined peace and stability. China’s measures are justified and legitimate,” Sun had said, referring to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

“The outgoing Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong made it clear that the foundation of India-China relations is on One China Policy. Since the Modi government came to power in India, it is not clear about One China Policy,” Sawhney adds.

He says another lesson for the Ukraine War is the extensive use of new technology like drones during the wars between major powers.

He adds, “It is applicable between Russia and NATO or between India and Pakistan but not between China and India as China has advanced cyber warfare capability.”

A month after the Russia-Ukraine War, Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane in March had said the main lesson from the conflict was that India has to be ready to fight future wars with indigenous weapon systems.

“The biggest lesson is that we have to be ready to fight future wars with indigenous weapons and the steps towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat in defense should be taken more urgently. The wars of the future should be fought with our own weapon systems,” the then Army chief General Naravane said.

As the war in Ukraine has turned into a bloody stalemate with neither side possessing a decisive military advantage to achieve geopolitical objectives, many defense experts like Abhijit Iyer-Mitra say one has to see how Western weapons achieve their objective more quickly than Russian weapons and also how technology and willing to take risks has remodelled the war.

Mitra cites examples of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and achieving its objectives in 78 days and the NATO invasion of Iraq making Bagdad cave in early to point out the superiority of the western weapons.

He adds, “These wars and Ukraine War show initial victory with Western weapons happens very rapidly. The counter-insurgency is altogether a different matter that happened after the initial victories.”

Mitra argues that the Russia-Ukraine conflict has also shown “how obsolete Russian weapons are and how non-existent Russian intelligence has become.”

“An important lesson of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is one should have complete hold on the interpretation of imagery to target the adversary and if you are using Eastern weapons prepare for long-drawn war. The eastern weapons are effective but they require a lot of time. It is brutal and you have to be willing to accept deaths in thousands,” he adds.

Mitra says information warfare is another aspect that cannot be overlooked as at present the Ukraine-Russia conflict’s narrative has been completely captured by the Western media in general and the narratives have the ability to influence the morale of the troops and the nations fighting the war.

“In past wars between India and China or between Pakistan and India, infrastructure has not been targeted. They have been always military-to-military fights. But things started to change when Russia started targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure. You need to be willing to take out energy and all kinds of infrastructure to assist your troops.

Riaz Haq said...

Ukraine War Lessons For India: Big Wars Are Back, Terrorism Takes A Backseat

https://www.outlookindia.com/national/ukraine-war-lessons-for-india-big-wars-are-back-terrorism-takes-a-backseat-weekender_story-245921?prev


“You have to seriously start thinking when you are going to use nuclear weapons on a battlefield. You have to also weigh the cost of being outside an alliance while using nuclear weapons. Because of what Poland, Latvia, and Estonia can do, Ukraine cannot do. Being in an alliance gives you a certain kind of deterrence which you don’t get outside an alliance even if you have nuclear weapons. These are lessons the Russia-Ukraine conflict teaches us,” Mitra says.

However, Mitra was dismissive of Aatmanirbhar Bharat in the defense industry, though he says the main lesson India should learn from the Ukraine conflict is to be Aatmanirbhar — self-reliant.

He adds, “We have been hearing this argument Aatmanirbhar for the past 25 years. Nobody knows it as no one understands it. This was possible twenty years ago but not now when the gap is narrowing. Besides, there are a lot of western weapons you cannot indigenise.”

Riaz Haq said...

What is ChatGPT? The AI chatbot talked up as a potential Google killer
After all, the AI chatbot seems to be slaying a great deal of search engine responses.

https://interestingengineering.com/science/chatgpt-ai-chatbot-google-killer

ChatGPT is the latest and most impressive artificially intelligent chatbot yet. It was released two weeks ago, and in just five days hit a million users. It’s being used so much that its servers have reached capacity several times.

OpenAI, the company that developed it, is already being discussed as a potential Google slayer. Why look up something on a search engine when ChatGPT can write a whole paragraph explaining the answer? (There’s even a Chrome extension that lets you do both, side by side.)

But what if we never know the secret sauce behind ChatGPT’s capabilities?

The chatbot takes advantage of a number of technical advances published in the open scientific literature in the past couple of decades. But any innovations unique to it are secret. OpenAI could well be trying to build a technical and business moat to keep others out.

What it can (and can’t do)
ChatGPT is very capable. Want a haiku on chatbots? Sure.

How about a joke about chatbots? No problem.

ChatGPT can do many other tricks. It can write computer code to a user’s specifications, draft business letters or rental contracts, compose homework essays and even pass university exams.

Just as important is what ChatGPT can’t do. For instance, it struggles to distinguish between truth and falsehood. It is also often a persuasive liar.

ChatGPT is a bit like autocomplete on your phone. Your phone is trained on a dictionary of words so it completes words. ChatGPT is trained on pretty much all of the web, and can therefore complete whole sentences – or even whole paragraphs.

However, it doesn’t understand what it’s saying, just what words are most likely to come next.

Open only by name
In the past, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have been accompanied by peer-reviewed literature.

In 2018, for example, when the Google Brain team developed the BERT neural network on which most natural language processing systems are now based (and we suspect ChatGPT is too), the methods were published in peer-reviewed scientific papers, and the code was open-sourced.

And in 2021, DeepMind’s AlphaFold 2, a protein-folding software, was Science’s Breakthrough of the Year. The software and its results were open-sourced so scientists everywhere could use them to advance biology and medicine.

Following the release of ChatGPT, we have only a short blog post describing how it works. There has been no hint of an accompanying scientific publication, or that the code will be open-sourced.

To understand why ChatGPT could be kept secret, you have to understand a little about the company behind it.

OpenAI is perhaps one of the oddest companies to emerge from Silicon Valley. It was set up as a non-profit in 2015 to promote and develop “friendly” AI in a way that “benefits humanity as a whole”. Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and other leading tech figures pledged US$1 billion (dollars) towards its goals.

Their thinking was we couldn’t trust for-profit companies to develop increasingly capable AI that aligned with humanity’s prosperity. AI therefore needed to be developed by a non-profit and, as the name suggested, in an open way.

In 2019 OpenAI transitioned into a capped for-profit company (with investors limited to a maximum return of 100 times their investment) and took a US$1 billion(dollars) investment from Microsoft so it could scale and compete with the tech giants.

It seems money got in the way of OpenAI’s initial plans for openness.

Profiting from users
On top of this, OpenAI appears to be using feedback from users to filter out the fake answers ChatGPT hallucinates.

According to its blog, OpenAI initially used reinforcement learning in ChatGPT to downrank fake and/or problematic answers using a costly hand-constructed training set.

Riaz Haq said...

How the algorithm tipped the balance in Ukraine

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/12/19/palantir-algorithm-data-ukraine-war/

by David Ignatius

KYIV — Two Ukrainian military officers peer at a laptop computer operated by a Ukrainian technician using software provided by the American technology company Palantir. On the screen are detailed digital maps of the battlefield at Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, overlaid with other targeting intelligence — most of it obtained from commercial satellites.

As we lean closer, we see can jagged trenches on the Bakhmut front, where Russian and Ukrainian forces are separated by a few hundred yards in one of the bloodiest battles of the war. A click of the computer mouse displays thermal images of Russian and Ukrainian artillery fire; another click shows a Russian tank marked with a “Z,” seen through a picket fence, an image uploaded by a Ukrainian spy on the ground.

If this were a working combat operations center, rather than a demonstration for a visiting journalist, the Ukrainian officers could use a targeting program to select a missile, artillery piece or armed drone to attack the Russian positions displayed on the screen. Then drones could confirm the strike, and a damage assessment would be fed back into the system.

This is the “wizard war” in the Ukraine conflict — a secret digital campaign that has never been reported before in detail — and it’s a big reason David is beating Goliath here. The Ukrainians are fusing their courageous fighting spirit with the most advanced intelligence and battle-management software ever seen in combat.

“Tenacity, will and harnessing the latest technology give the Ukrainians a decisive advantage,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told me last week. “We are witnessing the ways wars will be fought, and won, for years to come.”

I think Milley is right about the transformational effect of technology on the Ukraine battlefield. And for me, here’s the bottom line: With these systems aiding brave Ukrainian troops, the Russians probably cannot win this war.

“The power of advanced algorithmic warfare systems is now so great that it equates to having tactical nuclear weapons against an adversary with only conventional ones,” explains Alex Karp, chief executive of Palantir, in an email message. “The general public tends to underestimate this. Our adversaries no longer do.”

“For us, it’s a matter of survival,” argues “Stepan,” the senior Ukrainian officer in the Kyiv demonstration, who before the war designed software for a retail company. Now, he tells me bluntly, “Our goal is to maximize target acquisitions.” To protect his identity, he stripped his unit insignia and other markings from his camouflage uniform before he demonstrated the technology. (The names he and his colleague used were not their real ones; I agreed to their request to protect their security.)

“Lesya,” the other officer, was also a computer specialist in peacetime. As she looks at the imagery of the Russian invaders, on a day when their drones are savaging civilian targets in Odessa on Ukraine’s southern coast, she mutters a wish for revenge — and a hope that Ukraine will emerge from the war as a tech power. Although the Ukrainians now depend on technology help from America, she says, “by the end of the war, we will be selling software to Palantir.”

Riaz Haq said...

How the algorithm tipped the balance in Ukraine

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/12/19/palantir-algorithm-data-ukraine-war/


A new deterrent
Kyiv was cold and snowy when I arrived just over a week ago. The power was out in some places. But the capital was relatively calm. There was a traffic jam entering the city on Friday. On Saturday night, restaurants were so packed it was impossible to get a reservation at one upscale spot.

As Ukraine moves toward the new year, the spirit of resistance and resilience is visible everywhere. Roadblocks have mostly disappeared. Children play near captured Russian tanks in St. Michael’s Square. Couples take walks in the park above the Dnieper River.

I visited here at year’s end to explore what I believe is the overriding lesson of this fight — and indeed, of the past several decades of war: A motivated partner like Ukraine can win if provided with the West’s unique technology. The Afghanistan army cracked in a day because it lacked the motivation to fight. But Ukraine — and, before it, the Syrian Kurdish fighters who crushed the Islamic State with U.S. help — has succeeded because it has both the weapons and the will.

I met with a senior team from Palantir that was visiting its Kyiv office. With the approval of Karp, the CEO, they agreed to show me some of the company’s technology close to the firing line. The result is a detailed look at what may prove to be a revolution in warfare — in which a software platform allows U.S. allies to use the ubiquitous, unstoppable sensors that surround every potential battlefield to create a truly lethal “kill chain.”

Palantir, which began its corporate life working with the CIA on counterterrorism tools, has many critics. That’s partly because its biggest funder, from the start, has been co-founder Peter Thiel, a successful tech investor who has also been a strong supporter of Donald Trump and other MAGA Republicans. Karp, by contrast, has supported many Democratic candidates and causes.

The critics have argued that Palantir’s powerful software has been misused by government agencies to violate privacy or serve questionable ends. For example, The Post wrote in 2019 that Palantir’s software was used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help track undocumented immigrants, which led to protests from some of the company’s employees. Tech community activists have asked whether Palantir is too close to the U.S. government and can “see too much” with its tools.

Karp responded to criticism of the company in an email to me last week: “Silicon Valley screaming at us for over a decade did not make the world any less dangerous. We built software products that made America and its allies stronger — and we are proud of that.”

And Ukraine has shifted the political landscape in Silicon Valley. For Karp and many other technology CEOs, this is “the good war” that has led many companies to use their tools aggressively. This public-private partnership is one of the keys to Ukraine’s success. But it obscures many important questions: How dependent should countries be on entrepreneurs whose policy views could change? We can applaud the use of these tools in “good” wars, but what about bad ones? And what about private tools being turned against the governments that helped create them?

We’ll be struggling with these questions about technology and warfare for the rest of this century. But after spending weeks investigating the new tools developed by Palantir and other companies, the immediate takeaway for me is about deterrence — and not just in Ukraine. Given this revolution in technology, adversaries face a much tougher challenge in attacking, say, Taiwan than they might imagine. The message for China in this emerging digital battle space is: Think twice.

Riaz Haq said...

How the algorithm tipped the balance in Ukraine

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/12/19/palantir-algorithm-data-ukraine-war/

Vast data battlefield
The “kill chain” that I saw demonstrated in Kyiv is replicated on a vast scale by Ukraine’s NATO partners from a command post outside the country. The system is built around the same software platform developed by Palantir that I saw in Kyiv, which can allow the United States and its allies to share information from diverse sources — ranging from commercial satellite imagery to the West’s most secret intelligence tools.

This is algorithmic warfare, as Karp says. Using a digital model of the battlefield, commanders can penetrate the notorious “fog of war.” By applying artificial intelligence to analyze sensor data, NATO advisers outside Ukraine can quickly answer the essential questions of combat: Where are allied forces? Where is the enemy? Which weapons will be most effective against enemy positions? They can then deliver precise enemy location information to Ukrainian commanders in the field. And after action, they can assess whether their intelligence was accurate and update the system.

Data powers this new engine of war — and the system is constantly updating. With each kinetic strike, the battle damage assessments are fed back into the digital network to strengthen the predictive models. It’s not an automated battlefield, and it still has layers and stovepipes. The system I saw in Kyiv uses a limited array of sensors and AI tools, some developed by Ukraine, partly because of classification limits. The bigger, outside system can process highly classified data securely, with cyber protections and restricted access, then feed enemy location data to Ukraine for action.

To envision how this works in practice, think about Ukraine’s recent success recapturing Kherson, on the Black Sea coast. The Ukrainians had precise intelligence about where the Russian were moving and the ability to strike with accurate long-range fire. This was possible because they had intelligence about the enemy’s location, processed by NATO from outside the country and then sent to commanders on the ground. Armed with that information, the Ukrainians could take the offensive — moving, communicating and adjusting quickly to Russian defensive maneuvers and counterattacks.

And when Ukrainian forces hit Russian command nodes or supply depots, it’s a near certainty that they have received enemy location data this way. Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation, told me that this electronic kill chain was “especially useful during the liberation of Kherson, Izium, Kharkiv and Kyiv regions.”

What makes this system truly revolutionary is that it aggregates data from commercial vendors. Using a Palantir tool called MetaConstellation, Ukraine and its allies can see what commercial data is currently available about a given battle space. The available data includes a surprisingly wide array, from traditional optical pictures to synthetic aperture radar that can see through clouds, to thermal images that can detect artillery or missile fire.

To check out the range of available data, just visit the internet. Companies selling optical and synthetic aperture radar imagery include Maxar, Airbus, ICEYE and Capella. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sells simple thermal imaging meant to detect fires but that can also register artillery explosions.

In our Kherson example, Palantir assesses that roughly 40 commercial satellites will pass over the area in a 24-hour period. Palantir normally uses fewer than a dozen commercial satellite vendors, but it can expand that range to draw imagery from a total of 306 commercial satellites that can focus to 3.3 meters. Soldiers in battle can use handheld tablets to request more coverage if they need it. According to a British official, Western military and intelligence services work closely with Ukrainians on the ground to facilitate this sharing of information.

Riaz Haq said...

How the algorithm tipped the balance in Ukraine

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/12/19/palantir-algorithm-data-ukraine-war/


A final essential link in this system is the mesh of broadband connectivity provided from overhead by Starlink’s array of roughly 2,500 satellites in low-earth orbit. The system, owned by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, allows Ukrainian soldiers who want to upload intelligence or download targeting information to do so quickly.

In this wizard war, Ukraine has the upper hand. The Russians have tried to create their own electronic battlefield tools, too, but with little success. They have sought to use commercial satellite data, for example, and streaming videos from inexpensive Chinese drones. But they have had difficulty coordinating and sharing this data among units. And they lack the ability to connect with the Starlink array.

“The Russian army is not flexible,” Lesya, the Ukrainian officer, told me. She noted proudly that every Ukrainian battalion travels with its own software developer. Ukraine’s core advantage isn’t just the army’s will to fight, but also its technical prowess.

Fedorov, Ukraine’s digital minister, listed some of the military tech systems that Ukraine has created on its own, in a response to my written questions. These include a secure chat system, called “eVorog,” that has allowed civilians to provide 453,000 reports since the war started; a 200-strong “Army of Drones” purchased from commercial vendors for use in air reconnaissance; and a battlefield mapping system called Delta that “contains the actual data in real time, so the military can plan their actions accordingly.”


The “X factor” in this war, if you will, is this Ukrainian high-tech edge and the ability of its forces to adapt rapidly. “This is the most technologically advanced war in human history,” argues Fedorov. “It’s quite different from everything that has been seen before.”

And that’s the central fact of the extraordinary drama the world has been watching since Russia invaded so recklessly last February. This is a triumph of man and machine, together.

Next: How “algorithmic warfare” evolved over the past decade — and some very human worries.

Riaz Haq said...

IDEAS 2022: The JF-17 Reaches a Key Maturation Phase


https://quwa.org/2022/11/20/ideas-2022-the-jf-17-reaches-a-key-maturation-phase-2/

Taimoor Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM)
At IDEAS 2022, the PAF revealed that it will induct a new air-launched cruise missile (ALCM), which it has named ‘Taimoor.’ The Taimoor ALCM seems virtually identical to the Ra’ad II ALCM, which has a range of 550-600 km. However, it seems that the PAF is planning to use the Taimoor ALCM as a conventional stand-off range weapon (SOW). Some observers who had attended IDEAS 2022 report that the PAF termed the Taimoor ALCM as a next-generation anti-ship missile as well.

The Taimoor ALCM could be a sign of the PAF investing in the JF-17 and, potentially, J-10CE’s SOW suite by adding a long-range, heavy-payload weapon. It is not known which of Pakistan’s in-house bureaus will be producing the Taimoor ALCM, but it is likely National Engineering & Scientific Commission (NESCOM).

GIDS (Global Industrial & Defence Solutions), which markets products on behalf of Pakistan’s state-owned enterprises (SOE), started promoting the “Harbah-NG” anti-ship cruising missile (ASCM). The Harbah-NG is the export variant of the Harbah, which was first announced in 2018.

There could be an intriguing scenario where the Taimoor ALCM leverages the same propulsion/engine or electronics stack as the Harbah-NG ASCM. This standardization could help with reducing the cost of these systems. In turn, standardization can them affordable enough for wide-scale conventional use. Until this point, Pakistan has largely positioned its cruise missiles for strategic use…

---------------


Air Warfare Syndicate
@AirWarSyndicate
JF-17C is being integrated with advanced Air Superiority Weapons and Avionics Package. The PAF Thunder Riders will have the privilege of using the same HMDS as that of J-20 of PLAAF

HMDS provide great advantage to its users in critical decision making during air battle.

https://twitter.com/AirWarSyndicate/status/1592460516202803206?s=20&t=g3X5izj14nK1YMZzoiqxCQ

Riaz Haq said...

News From India:

Myanmar expands defence industrial partnership with Pakistan for JF-17

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/myanmar-expands-defence-industrial-partnership-with-pakistan-for-jf-17/articleshow/96114341.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Myanmar is indulging in a delicate balancing act by stepping up military engagement with the China-Pakistan axis on one hand and Russia on the other by near simultaneous hosting of military delegations from Pakistan and Russia.

While a Pakistani delegation led by Colonel Imran Khan visited Myanmar capital Naypyitaw last week to discuss military cooperation with the junta, in continuation of a series of visits from Pakistan military establishment to Myanmar since September, the junta al ..

The Pakistani team visited Myanmar regarding technical support for JF-17 aircraft jointly developed by China and Pakistan, ET has further learnt.

A 10-member team from Myanmar Air Force (MAF) is currently in Pakistan undergoing training for four weeks on precision targeting in air operations and on the JF-17 jet fighter.

Myanmar bought 16 JF-17’s from China. The first batch of six aircraft was delivered in 2018, but details about the delivery date for the other 10 remain unclear. Myanmar was the first country to buy the JF-17, sources told ET.

In October, a senior-level Pakistani military delegation visited Myanmar to provide technical assistance to manufacture weapons, ET had reported earlier

In September, a Myanmar military team had visited Pakistan to inspect delivery of bombs and bullets that it had ordered from Islamabad, according to persons familiar with the development. This team again visited Pakistan earlier this month for pre-shipment inspection of deliveries.

Pakistan was also reportedly considering selling heavy machine guns, 60 mm and 81 mm mortars and M-79 grenade launchers to Myanmar, ET had earlier reported.

Pakistan was formerly a strong critic of the Myanmar government for what it alleged was a “state-sponsored campaign” against Rohingyas in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Myanmar had in the past accused Pakistan of arming and training a radical group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.


Riaz Haq said...

Why Pakistan is not a walkover

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGD6ZBKK3MY

FORCE editor Pravin Sawhney explains why India must take Pakistan military seriously. And how it is as professional a force as any. Visit us at www.forceindia.net

China-India military interoperability is a threat to India.

Professional Military:

1. Clearly defined threat

2. Balance at strategic and operational level.

3. Bring technologies and capabilities to the theater.

Pakistan meets all of the above criteria.

Bulk of India's attention is on Pakistan, not China.

Pakistan used proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir to keep Indian military engaged and to balance India's numerical advantage.

Both strategic and conventional forces report to Pakistan Army Chief.

Pakistan has created a strong air defense network.

Then Pakistan developed tactical nukes and refused to say "No First Use" to maintain ambiguity.

Pakistan has never lost in the western sector.

That's why India has failed to obliterate the Line-of-Control in Kashmir.

Pakistan developed and deployed nuclear weapons delivery system.

Now Pakistan is confident it can take on India.

Why? Because Pakistan and China have developed interoperability.

There is commonality of equipment, timely upgrades, ammunitions and spare parts.

China-Pakistan doctrinal compatibility.

CPEC has added the economic dimension to the relationship.

China now has an economic interest in defending its assets in Pakistan.

China can now shares non-kinetic capability cyber capability with Pakistan.

It makes no sense for Indian military leaders to make tall claims and issue threats to Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Book Excerpt: How Will a India-China War Pan Out? In his book 'The Last War: How AI Will Shape India’s Final Showdown With China', Pravin Sawhney imagines how an AI-supported Peoples Liberation Army might target critical Indian military assets.
Sep 17, 2022 | Pravin Sawhney


https://thewire.in/books/book-excerpt-how-will-a-india-china-war-pan-out


The PLA’s space war will destroy Indian intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance, communications, and navigation satellites by groundbased or Direct Ascent Anti Satellite (DA-ASAT) missiles, co-orbital ASAT, satellite jammers, and offensive cyber capabilities. This will be done by SSF’s two deputy theatre command-level departments: the space systems department responsible for military space operations, and the information operations which comprise cyberwar, electronic war, and political war. Since 2019, the SSF has been participating in joint exercises and training throughout China, and with the WTC against India.In massive pre-emptive attacks with remarkable speed, lethality, and intense salvos, the Rocket Force with advanced and accurate missiles would wipe out the majority of IAF combat aircraft on the ground before they get airborne. The RF inventory comprises surface-to-surface missiles, air-launched ballistic missiles, subsonic and supersonic missiles, hypersonic cruise missiles, hypersonic glide vehicles, submarine launched ballistic missiles, fractional orbital bombardment system, LAWs or killer robots, and swarm of missiles.
The PLA will build its Rocket Force missiles surge needed for India over time. Just as China took three years to prepare for the 1962 war even as its leaders were hoping for peace with India, preparations for large numbers of indigenous missiles will start early. Based on AI-enabled mathematical modelling of identified targets, and with automated production capability, the PLA will calculate the surge requirement for long range rockets, and smart and precision munitions including missiles, and build them. On the Indian side, the IAF inventory will be finite with little possibility of making up attrition rates.The RF focus will be bases with Rafale and Su-30 MKI aircraft. The missiles will crater runways, blow up fuel storage tanks, ammunition underground bunkers, hardened shelters, forward maintenance areas, command and control centres, and forward logistics centres of the IAF’s main and diversionary bases. This would ensure that even if airstrips get repaired, aircraft, in absence of payloads and fuel, will not be able to get airborne. Moreover, units of S-400 air and missile defence system, BrahMos cruise missile, Smerch and Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers, radar sites, long-range artillery, and communication nodes would be destroyed. The PLA could use swarms of autonomous long-range missiles, which on reaching its target, say a S-400 unit or regiment, would on its own decide how best to destroy the air defence system in the least amount of time. Or destroy its kill chain by cyberattacks on indigenous Akash surface-to-air missiles which would be integrated with S-400 for broad air defence cover.
Moreover, all field headquarters of the IAF and the Indian Army will be flattened by missile rain. There will be no carpet bombing, but accurate targeting with least collateral damages. With an area of 84,000 sq km, Arunachal Pradesh has a population of just 16 lakh concentrated in urban areas.

Riaz Haq said...

Book Excerpt: How Will a India-China War Pan Out? In his book 'The Last War: How AI Will Shape India’s Final Showdown With China', Pravin Sawhney imagines how an AI-supported Peoples Liberation Army might target critical Indian military assets.
Sep 17, 2022 | Pravin Sawhney


https://thewire.in/books/book-excerpt-how-will-a-india-china-war-pan-out

Priority would be accorded to communication towers, power centres, bridges, tunnels, radar sites, air defence systems, and command and control hubs. Since most Indian targets will be static, well-mapped, and watched, it will not be difficult for the PLA to hit them with precision. Political (information) warfare will be used to keep the enemy’s cognitive capabilities (decision-making) under pressure.
Considering that Rocket Force’s capabilities and employment is well documented and articulated by US and Chinese analysts, it is surprising that the IAF panel at the Military Literature Festival downplayed the fact that missiles will be the first line of attack in the PLA war. In September 2010, a three-star officer at the Eastern Air Command said as much. In an interaction with me at his headquarters in Shillong, he admitted that the IAF had no answer for the PLA’s surface-to-surface missiles.A decade later, IAF officials decided to downplay the monstrous missile threat in the absence of a corresponding response. This is what the US military does not do. The US INDOPACOM chief, Admiral Philip Davidson, said in March 2021 that the US will deploy its IndoPacific military presence far and wide rather than keep it concentrated at a handful of bases as it seeks to protect itself from China’s advanced missile capabilities. And yet, the former IAF chief Dhanoa thought that closeness of IAF main and diversionary bases would be an asset instead of being lucrative targets for the Chinese missiles.The IAF combat aircraft in the Indian hinterland (allocated for the Pakistani front) which manage to get airborne against China will find it impossible to penetrate the complex and compact A2/AD weapons bubble which will cover the spectrum from space to atmosphere with few gaps. In certain areas, such as some categories of hypersonic, ballistic, and cruise missiles, air defence, electronic warfare, and cyber capabilities, the PLA ranks among the world’s leaders. With ground communications jammed, Indian satellites disabled, destroyed, or thrown out of orbit, these combat aircraft will be blinded. The Indian armed drones and swarm drones that are touted to be game changers by the Indian military will meet a similar fate. The zone of operations of the A2/AD will be expanded by the PLA pushing IAF aircraft far away from the Chinese airspace.Incidentally, China’s ‘robust and redundant Integrated Air Defence System over land area and within 300 nautical miles (556 km) of its coast (within the first island chain in South China Sea) relies on an extensive early warning radar network, fighter aircraft, and a variety of surface to air missiles.’ As mentioned earlier, the PLA had created a similar A2/ AD firewall or counter invention force against India.Asked if it would be possible for Predator, the US drone, to carry out target killing inside Chinese airspace, similar to the killing of Irani general Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad airport in January 2020, Chinese analyst Wei Dongxu said:‘China has a complete air defence system, making it capable of defending surprise and targeted strikes from drones. Since China operates detection and early warning radars from multiple angles and levels, drones will face China’s aircraft interception network consisting of long, intermediate, and short range, as well as high, mid, and low altitude anti-aircraft missiles and guns. Soft kill is also an available option, which means China can jam enemy drones.’

Riaz Haq said...

Opinion A ‘good’ war gave the algorithm its opening, but dangers lurk

By David Ignatius


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/12/20/ukraine-war-russia-tech-battlefield/

NORTHEASTERN ENGLAND — To see the human face of the “algorithm war” being fought in Ukraine, visit a company of raw recruits during their five rushed weeks at a training camp here in Britain before they’re sent to the front in Ukraine.

They will soon have a battery of high-tech systems to aid them, but they must face the squalor of the trenches and the roar of unrelenting artillery fire alone. The digital battlefield has not supplanted the real one.

At the British camp, instructors have dug 300 yards of trenches across a frigid hillside. The trenches are 4 feet deep, girded with sandbags and planks, and slick with mud and water at the bottom. The Ukrainian recruits, who’ve never been in battle before, have to spend 48 hours in these hellholes. Sometimes, there’s simulated artillery fire overhead and rotting animal flesh nearby to prepare the trainees for the smell of death.

The recruits practice attacking the trenches and defending them. But mostly they learn to stay alive and as warm as they can, protecting their wet, freezing feet from rot and disease. “Nobody likes the trenches,” says Oleh, the Ukrainian officer who oversees the training with his British colleagues. (I’m not using his full name to respect concerns about his security.) “We tell them it will be easier in battle. If it’s hard now, that’s the goal.”

The paradox of the Ukraine conflict is that it combines the World War I nightmare of trench warfare with the most modern weapons of the 21st century.

“It’s hard to understand the brutality of contact in that front line. It’s Passchendaele in Donetsk,” explains Brigadier Justin Stenhouse, referring to one of the bloodiest battles of World War I. He oversees training for the British Ministry of Defense in Whitehall and arranged my visit to the training camp.

Silicon Valley Pentagon
The Ukraine war has fused the flesh-and-blood bravery of these Ukrainian troops on the ground with the stunning high-tech arsenal that I described in Part 1 of this report. The result is a revolution in warfare. This transformation, rarely discussed in the media, has been evolving for more than a decade. It shows the lethal ability of the United States and its allies to project power — and it also raises some vexing questions about how this power will be used.

One of the leading actors in this underreported revolution has been Palantir, which developed its software platform after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to help the CIA integrate data that was often in different compartments and difficult to share. News reports have frequently said that Palantir software helped track al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but the company won’t confirm that.

The Pentagon’s use of these ultramodern tools was encouraged by a very old-fashioned commander, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the gruff and often profane chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. When he was Army chief of staff in 2018, the service began working with Palantir and other tech companies to integrate data through a program called Army Vantage. Milley was frustrated by an antiquated data system that made it hard to gather details about what units were ready for battle. The Army, like so many government institutions, had too many separate repositories for information.

Palantir technicians showed me an unclassified version of the Army database they helped create to address that problem. You can see in an instant what units are ready, what skills and experience the soldiers in these units have, and what weapons and ammunition are available. Logistics problems like this once took weeks to solve; now there are answers in seconds.

“The U.S. military is focused on readiness today and readiness in the future,” Milley told me in an email last week. “In defense of our country, we’re pulling together a wide variety of technologies to remain number one, the most effective fighting force in the world.”

Riaz Haq said...

Opinion A ‘good’ war gave the algorithm its opening, but dangers lurk

By David Ignatius


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/12/20/ukraine-war-russia-tech-battlefield/


The Army began testing ideas about algorithmic warfare with individual units around that time as well. The first choice was the elite 82nd Airborne, commanded in 2020 by Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue; it was part of the XVIII Airborne Corps, then headed by Lt. Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla. These two worked with Palantir and other companies to understand how the Army could use data more effectively.

Simultaneously, the Pentagon was exploring the use of artificial intelligence to analyze sensor data and identify targets. This effort was known as Project Maven, and it initially spawned a huge controversy when it was launched in 2017. The idea was to write algorithms that could recognize, say, a Russian T-72 tank in drone surveillance images in the same way that facial recognition scans can discern a human face.

The military’s AI partnership with Silicon Valley got off to a bad start. In 2018, engineers at Google, initially the leading contractor for Maven, protested so angrily about writing targeting algorithms that the company had to withdraw from the program.

Maven has evolved. It’s now supervised by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and it generates AI models on a fast, one-month cycle. A tech executive explained to me that companies now compete to develop the most accurate models for detecting weapons — tuning their algorithms to see that hypothetical T-72 under a snowy grove of fir trees, let’s say, rather than a swampy field of brush — and each month the government selects a new digital array.

For a Pentagon that usually buys weapons that have a 30-year life span, this monthly rollover of targeting software is a revolution in itself.

When Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, the U.S. Army had these tools in hand — and commanders with experience using them. Donahue had moved up to become head of the XVIII Airborne Corps, which transferred its forward headquarters to Wiesbaden, Germany, just after the Russian invasion. The 82nd Airborne moved to forward quarters near Rzeszow, Poland, near the Ukraine border.

Kurilla, meanwhile, became head of Central Command and began using that key theater as a test bed for new technologies. In October, Kurilla appointed Schuyler Moore, a former director of science and technology for the Defense Innovation Board, as Centcom’s first “chief technology officer.”

For the Army and other services, the impetus for this technology push isn’t just the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but the looming challenge from China — America’s only real peer competitor in technology.

A tool for good and ill
In the age of algorithm warfare, when thinking machines will be so powerful, human judgment will become all the more important. Free societies have created potent technologies that, in the hands of good governments, can enable just outcomes, and not only in war. Ukrainian officials tell me they want to use Palantir software not just to repel the Russian invasion but also to repair Ukraine’s battered electrical grid, identify hidden corruption and manage the vast tasks of reconstruction.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister for digital transformation and vice prime minister, explained in written answers to my questions how he plans to use technology not just to beat Russia but also to become a high-tech superpower in the future.

Riaz Haq said...

Opinion A ‘good’ war gave the algorithm its opening, but dangers lurk

By David Ignatius


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/12/20/ukraine-war-russia-tech-battlefield/

Fedorov said Ukraine is “massively” using software platforms “to deal with power shortages and in order to ensure telecom connection.” To repair electricity cutoffs and damaged energy infrastructure, the country uses Starlink terminals, Tesla Powerwall systems, and advanced generators and lithium batteries. It backs up all its important data on cloud servers.

“For sure, I’m convinced that technologies will also allow us to build a bright and safe future,” Fedorov said. “Only the newest technologies could give us such an advantage to run and create the country we deserve as fast as possible.”

But these technologies can also create 21st-century dystopias, in the wrong hands. The targeting algorithms that allow Ukraine to spot and destroy invading Russians aren’t all that different from the facial-recognition algorithms that help China repress its citizens. We’re lucky, in a sense, that these technologies are mostly developed in the West by private companies rather than state-owned ones.

But what if an entrepreneur decides to wage a private war? What if authoritarian movements gain control of democratic societies and use technology to advance control rather than freedom? What if AI advances eventually allow the algorithms themselves to take control, making decisions for reasons they can’t explain, at speeds that humans can’t match? Democratic societies need to be constantly vigilant about this technology.

The importance of the human factor is clear with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, who illustrates the strength — and potential weakness — of America’s new way of war. If Musk decides he isn’t being paid enough for his services, or if he thinks it’s time for Ukraine to compromise, he can simply cut the line to his satellites, as he briefly threatened this fall.

Riaz Haq said...

Opinion A ‘good’ war gave the algorithm its opening, but dangers lurk

By David Ignatius


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/12/20/ukraine-war-russia-tech-battlefield/

Looking at the Ukraine war, we can see that our freewheeling entrepreneurial culture gives the West a big advantage over state-run autocracies such as China and Russia — so long as companies and CEOs share the same democratic values as Western governments. That’s why we need a broader public debate about the power of the technologies that are being put to noble use in Ukraine but could easily be turned to ignoble purposes in the wrong hands.

Ukraine, which has suffered so much in this war, wants to be a techno-superpower when the conflict finally ends. Fedorov, who’s overseeing Kyiv’s digital transformation, explains it this way: “Let’s plan to turn Ukraine into the world’s ‘mil-tech valley,’ to develop the most innovative security solutions, so the world will become a safer and more digital place.”


But first, the Ukrainians freezing in the filthy trenches will need to prevail.

Lt. Col. Harris, the commander of the camp in northeastern England, says he’s humbled amid the recruits there. Through five combat tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, though, he knows he has never faced anything as horrifying as many of them will see in a month or two.

On the firing range, 10 Ukrainian recruits squeeze off shots from their AK-47s. They’re on the second day of live-fire exercises, with eight more to come. They’re accountants, cooks and college students; some unsteady with their weapons, others newly bold. As they take aim at targets 50 feet away, a British sergeant commanding the range barks at them through an interpreter: “You need to kill the enemy before he kills you.”

And it’s as simple as that. This is a war of survival for Ukraine. But it should comfort the recruits that whatever their misery in coming months, they will have a level of technological support beyond anything the world has seen.

Riaz Haq said...

12 Biggest Militaries in the World: Does Size Matter?

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/12-biggest-militaries-world-does-195236601.html

1. US, 2. Russia, 3. China, 4. India, 5. UK, 6. Japan, 7. South Korea, 8. France, 9. Pakistan, 10. Israel, 11. North Korea, 12. Iran


9. Pakistan

Aircraft: 431



Tanks: 4148



Strategic Warships: 18



Submarines: 8



Nuclear Weapons: 165

Pakistan is one of the strongest military powers in Asia. The country has historically had a rocky relationship with neighboring India over Kashmir, leading to three wars.

This has led Pakistan to develop a powerful military arsenal. Its military doctrine was based on conventional war with India, but instability in the neighboring Afghanistan and the resulting insurgency in Pakistan’s FATA during War on Terror led the country to develop counter-insurgency capability as well.

Pakistan maintains 165 nuclear warheads as of 2021, a vast array of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, nearly 4,200 tanks, 97 attack helicopters, 8 submarines and 18 strategic warships including 10 frigates, 2 destroyers and 6 corvettes.

Its aircraft inventory consists of 431 aircraft and spans attack, multirole, bomber and utility airplanes. Its notable fighters include the F-16 Falcon and JF-17 Thunder. Pakistan has 1.2 million military personnel, with more than half being on active duty.




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4. India
Aircraft Carriers: 2





Aircraft: 2,186

Tanks: 4,740

Strategic Warships: 41

Submarines: 21

Nuclear Weapons: 160

Military Satellites: 15

India is the biggest military power in South Asia. The country has border disputes with both China and Pakistan and numerous insurgencies in its Northeastern region. This has led India to develop a robust military capability. In 2021, it spent 2.7% of its GDP on its military.

It has two aircraft carriers, 4,740 main-battle tanks, 41 strategic warships (10 destroyers, 12 frigates and 19 corvettes), 21 submarines (including 2 under-construction), 41 attack helicopters and 2,186 fixed-wing aircraft. Its aircraft inventory includes fighters like Su-30, Dassault Rafale and Mig-29. Currently, India does not have any fifth generation stealth aircraft in its air fleet.

The country has 160 nuclear weapons in service. It’s one of the only four countries that has based its nuclear force structure around the Nuclear Triad – the capability to launch nuclear warheads from sea, air and land. The other three countries are China, Russia and the US.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Holds Keel-Laying And Cutting-Steel Ceremonies For The Hangor-Class Submarines

https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2022/12/pakistan-holds-keel-laying-and-cutting-steel-ceremonies-for-the-hangor-class-submarines/

The indigenous submarine development project in Pakistan has reached another milestone. The keel laying of the first HANGOR-class submarine (5th overall) and the steel cutting of the second submarine (6th overall) were carried out at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW) on December 24, 2022.

The defense agreement between Pakistan and China included the development of 08 x HANGOR-class Submarines including four submarines under construction at Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group (WSIG) in China and the remaining four being built at KS&EW under the Transfer of Technology (ToT) agreement. The construction work of the first submarine to be made at KS&EW Pakistan commenced on Dec 21 and now the Keel Laying is being laid which is a major milestone in the history of any naval vessel being constructed. Concurrently, construction work on the subsequent submarine has started with its Steel Cutting at the same shipyard.

HANGOR-class Submarine is capable to undertake a variety of missions as per operational dictates. The submarine possesses advanced stealth features and is fitted with state-of-the-art weapons and sensors to operate under a multi-threat environment and can engage targets at stand-off ranges.

The Pakistan Navy does not offer any details about the Hangor-class submarines’ subsystems or specific weapon systems. The Stirling AIP system is used in China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company’s (CSOC) S26 design, on which many experts assume the Hangor is based, but Pakistani officials have not publicly revealed the propulsion system of Hangor-class sub

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Naval News comments on Hangor-class project:
The Hangor-class submarines are an export variant of the PLAN’s Type 039A/041 Yuan-class submarines. Pakistan accepted the purchase of eight submarines from China in April 2015. According to the agreement, four of the submarines will be built in Pakistan’s KSEW at the same time as the other four would be produced in China.
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According to the Pakistani defense blog Quwa, Hangor-class submarines will be 76 meters long and have a displacement of 2800 tons, making them slightly shorter but heavier than the original S26 design.

Currently, PN operates three Agosta 90B air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarines and two Agosta 70 diesel-electric submarines. Three Agosta 90B subs have been undergoing a mid-life upgrade under a contract signed in 2016 with the Turkish STM Company as the prime contractor. STM delivered the first upgraded submarine, PNS Hamza, in 2020. The scope of modernization is the replacement of the Fire Control System, Sonar Suite, Electronic Warfare System, Radar, and Periscope System (Navigation and Assault).

The eight Hangor Class submarines will significantly strengthen the Pakistan Navy. Pakistan is likely to improve its A2/AD capabilities in the region after the project is completed. Though no official confirmation has been made on the weapon systems, it is clear that Pakistan would obtain deep strike capability if the Hangor-class submarines were outfitted with Babur-3 SLCMs.

Riaz Haq said...

ONE Network, Cybernet complete first phase of cross-country long-haul fiber network

https://www.brecorder.com/news/40211289

A new ultra-low latency long-haul fiber network is being deployed jointly by One Network, the largest ICT and Intelligent Traffic and Electronic Tolling System operator in Pakistan, and Cybernet, a leading fiber broadband provider. The network will span the entire length of the country and provide much-needed capacity and redundancy to the communications, internet, and media infrastructure in numerous cities, towns, and districts.

The first phase of the project, which includes 1,800 km of fiber network along motorways and road sections linking Karachi to Hyderabad (M-9 Motorway), Multan to Sukkur (M-5 Motorway), Abdul Hakeem to Lahore (M-3 Motorway), Swat Expressway (M-16), Lahore to Islamabad (M-2 Motorway) and separately from Lahore to Sialkot (M-11 Motorway), Gujranwala, Daska and Wazirabad have been deployed.

Both partners are now moving expeditiously to install and test a multi-terabit transport network and attain ready-for-service (RFS).

The second phase which includes Hyderabad to Sukkur, Multan to Pindi Bhattian (M-4 Motorway), Hazara Expressway (E-35), Hakla to D.I.Khan (M-14 Motorway), and Islamabad to Peshawar (M-1 Motorway) has commenced and is expected to go live by Q1 2023.

Based on learnings from disruptions due to infrastructure damages in recent floods, the project has implemented extra measures to withstand natural calamities. All critical components including optical networking equipment, distribution networks, and power systems are deployed in such a manner that they continue to function in a range of disaster scenarios. Furthermore, the network is being enhanced through multiple rings, and swap arrangements with other network providers to provide an unprecedented level of reliability.

Asif Siddique, CEO of One Network, said: “This national long-haul project is the backbone to enable One Network to deploy state-of-the-art platforms for electronic toll collection (ETC) and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) for our National Motorways – the economic backbone of our country. Built along the national motorways, the fiber transmission network will provide a robust information highway linking many Pakistani cities, towns, and districts. The infrastructure has been built, and will be maintained, by keeping in mind the capacity and communication needs for our nation and its citizens for the next 25 years”. The infrastructure shall also be available for all cellular mobile operators to provide quality of service to their 3G/4G subscribers along the motorway routes. “We are building safe and reliable long-haul fiber infrastructure with an aim to contribute to improving quality of service and digitalization efforts of the government of Pakistan,” added Mr. Asif Siddique.

Danish A. Lakhani, CEO of Cybernet, said, “Our goal is to provide a high-capacity fiber network that continues to function in critical times. With careful planning of the fiber plant including ring-based protection and regular, proactive maintenance we aim to construct a robust national fiber backbone for use by everyone – but one which will be owned and managed by local Pakistanis. Such a backbone will not only serve the people, businesses, and institutions of Pakistan but also meet the needs of international customers who require high-capacity, cross-border connectivity.”

The new long-haul network will also provide tremendous benefit to Cybernet’s own broadband service (StormFiber) by enabling the company to provide multi-terabit transmission uplink to its broadband access network.

“This transmission network will enable us to further our mission of transforming the Pakistani economy by bringing gigabit fiber broadband service –at an affordable price— to households and businesses in every major city of Pakistan. We are on track to roll out our FTTH-based triple play service to the 25th city in Pakistan by the end of the year”, added Lakhani.

Riaz Haq said...

Starlink’s technical plan being studied by PTA, other stakeholders


https://www.brecorder.com/news/40216864


ISLAMABAD: The Starlink Internet Services has yet to satisfy the Pakistan Tele-communication Authority (PTA) and other stakeholders over its technical plan—being evaluated for the launch of services in the country, official sources revealed to Business Recorder.

According to official documents of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication and the PTA, the technical plan submitted by Starlink is under evaluation by relevant stakeholders. The Government of Pakistan is in consultation with all stakeholders including SUPARCO, LEAs, PTA, and FAB to analyse the Starlink technical and business plan, as regional and various international countries are taking cautious approach to allow or deny Starlink due to respective satellite regimes as well as security aspects.

The documents further revealed that security clearance of Starlink and related technical vulnerabilities assessment especially its data hosting outside the country and utilization of laser technology from satellite to satellite without using Earth Gateways is being analyzed by Law Enforcement Agency. Further action of granting licence or otherwise will be taken by the PTA after clearance from all stakeholders.

In accordance with existing regulatory provisions, Long Distance and International (LD1) and Local Loop (LL) licencees of PTA are allowed to provide satellite-based telecommunication services in respective licenced region(s). Starlink Internet Services Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd (Starlink) which is owned by Starlink Holdings Netherlands BV, applied for LDI licence for Pakistan on 24th February 2022 along with 14 x LL licence for all Telecom Regions of Pakistan on 29th April 2022.

All stakeholders were intimated and Starlink case is being analysed from technical perspective on non-exclusive, non-interference, and non-protection basis.

Starlink Internet Services Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd (Starlink) approached Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to permit Starlink (SpaceX) to operate in Pakistan. Traditional satellites are operating in Pakistan in Geo Stationary Orbit (GSO) (at an altitude of 36000 kms). However, Starlink differs from GSO technically, as it operates in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) at an altitude between 250 to 500 kms, thus, provides low latency connectivity.

Starlink/SpaceX satellites can also communicate with many Ground Stations at a time and conversely, one ground station can connect to many starlink satellites. Satellite-to-satellite connectivity also exists through laser technology to effectively expand footprint in all areas.

Internet bandwidth is normally accessed from ground station within the country, where services are extended through starlink thus, optical fiber cable bandwidth is up/down linked through space stations and internet services are provided to the end user in the country.

The PTA officials on Monday also briefed the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication on the Starlink issue which met under the chairmanship of Senator Kauda Babar.

Officials said that this technology is still in its early stages and further progress could not be made due to some security concerns. Senator Afnanullah Khan said it was an excellent technology for providing internet services in remote areas and it was not appropriate to forego it just because of security concerns.

Chairman Committee, Senator Kauda Babar, formed a sub-committee to settle the matter and bring it to a logical end. The Sub-committee will sit with all the stakeholders and resolve the issues.

The officials revealed that SpaceX’s Starlink currently uses beta version which is not fully secured. The committee was informed that the technology was reportedly used in a drone attack in Ukraine while it was also reported in Afghanistan as well. The committee constituted a sub-committee to look into the matter and report back to it.

Riaz Haq said...

Putin to Xi: Russia seeks to strengthen military ties with China

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/12/30/russia-now-one-of-chinas-leading-suppliers-of-oil-and-gas-putin


The US has expressed concern over Beijing’s alignment with Moscow amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.


Russia’s ties with China are the “best in history”, President Vladimir Putin told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, as he said Moscow would seek to strengthen military cooperation with Beijing.

The two leaders spoke via video link on Friday, and Putin said he was expecting Xi to make a state visit to Moscow in 2023. If it were to take place, it would be a public show of solidarity by Beijing amid Moscow’s flailing military campaign in Ukraine.


In introductory remarks from the video conference broadcast on state television, Putin said: “We are expecting you, dear Mr chairman, dear friend, we are expecting you next spring on a state visit to Moscow.”

He said the visit would “demonstrate to the world the closeness of Russian-Chinese relations”.

Speaking for about eight minutes, Putin said Russia-China relations were growing in importance as a stabilising factor, and that he aimed to deepen military cooperation between the two countries.

In a response that lasted about a quarter as long, Xi said China was ready to increase strategic cooperation with Russia against the backdrop of what he called a “difficult” situation in the world at large.

Earlier this month, Russia and China conducted joint naval drills, which Russia’s army chief described as a response to the “aggressive” US military posturing in the Asia-Pacific region.

Xi “emphasized that China has noted that Russia has never refused to resolve the conflict through diplomatic negotiations, for which it [China] expresses its appreciation,” Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported of the call.

The Chinese leader told Putin that the road to peace talks on Ukraine would not be smooth and that China would continue to uphold its “objective and fair stance” on the issue, according to CCTV.

“The Chinese side has noted that the Russian side has said it has never refused to resolve the conflict through diplomatic negotiations, and expressed its appreciation for this,” he was quoted as saying.

Xi, however, made clear the ideological affinity between Beijing and Moscow when it came to opposing what both view as the hegemonic US-led West.

“Facts have repeatedly proved that containment and suppression are unpopular, and sanctions and interference are doomed to failure,” Xi told Putin.

“China is ready to work with Russia and all progressive forces around the world that oppose hegemonism and power politics…and firmly defend the sovereignty, security and development interests of both countries and international justice.”

In February, China promised a “no limits” partnership with Russia, which set off alarm bells in the West. Beijing has refused to criticise Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, blaming the United States and NATO for provoking the Kremlin. It has also blasted the sanctions imposed on Russia.

The US State Department on Friday expressed concern over China’s alignment with Russia. “Beijing claims to be neutral, but its behaviour makes clear it is still investing in close ties to Russia,” a spokesperson said, adding Washington was “monitoring Beijing’s activity closely.”

Russia leading supplier of oil to China
Putin also said Russia has become one of China’s leading suppliers of oil and gas.

“Russia has become one of the leaders in oil exports to China”, with 13.8 billion cubic metres of gas shipped via the Power of Siberia pipeline in the first 11 months of 2022.

Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as China’s top crude supplier last month.

Putin added that Russia was China’s second-largest supplier of pipeline gas and fourth-largest of liquefied natural gas (LNG). He said in December, shipments had been 18 percent above daily contractual obligations.

Riaz Haq said...

Ukraine gets its tanks: Poland sending Leopard 2, and other nations may follow
“A company of Leopard tanks for Ukraine will be transferred as part of building an international coalition,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said in a Jan 11 social media post. “Such a decision [has] already [been taken] in Poland."



https://breakingdefense.com/2023/01/ukraine-gets-its-tanks-poland-sending-leopard-2-and-other-nations-may-follow/

The supply of the main battle tanks arrives as Ukraine looks to mount a spring counteroffensive to reclaim territories lost to Russia and ahead of a new Ramstein Ukraine contact group meeting on Jan. 20 where Western leaders could agree on additional Leopards being transferred, potentially alongside US Stryker armored protection vehicles.

“The Leopard 2 supply will give Ukraine access to a suite of vehicles they haven’t had access to since the war with Russia started and by all accounts will be very effective against Russian armor,” said Ed Arnold Research Fellow for European Security at the UK-based Royal United Services Institute.

The Leopard 2 A4 variant is equipped with a 120 mm smoothbore cannon, fire control computer and offers a range of 450km, according to manufacturer KMW. Warsaw signed off on a A4 upgrade effort in December 2015.

Arnold added that the operational impact of the Leopard tanks will depend on how many are delivered.

“It’s a very logical step to focus on the Leopard because there are far more of them in use across Europe compared to [other main battle tanks like the British Army’s] Challenger 2,” a reference to reports this week linking the UK to a potential new agreement to send those vehicles to Kyiv.

“The Government has committed to match or exceed last year’s funding for military aid to Ukraine in 2023, and we will continue to build on recent donations with training and further gifting of equipment,” said a UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson in a statement, declining to comment on Challenger 2 specifically.

At a capability level the Leopard 2 will offer Ukraine greater firepower, greater mobility and better protection from enemy fires supported by more modern countermeasures that Ukraine has been predominately relying on with the Soviet-era T-72 tanks, according to Arnold.

That considered, underfunding by the Bundeswehr and different standards among export customers mean that many Leopards lack the protection, weapon, and electronics upgrades of the latest version, the A7+.

Fielding the Leopard through a common logistics supply chain appears to be feasible because of how many European operators use the tanks, but a number of drawbacks include their size as they are considered relatively easy to spot from distance, require more fuel, and need a crew of four, one more than the T-72. Perhaps most problematic of all, at 55-plus metric tons, they are too heavy to safely cross many Ukrainian bridges.

In 2015, Ukrainian transportation authorities banned vehicles over 44 metric tons (49 US tons) citing potential damage to bridges and highways, an issue that could prove troublesome in terms of leading to excessive training for Ukrainian tank crews, commanders, staff planning, supply units, and maintenance on the Leopard 2, once deliveries have been made.