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4 Ways disruptive technology has improved global military operations

November 20 2023

2023 brought a number of shake-ups to technology, especially within the defense space. As we prepare to usher in a new year, experts have a renewed sense of optimism when it comes to developing and implementing new cutting-edge solutions that will benefit global militaries. In fact, Fidelity International has reported that automation and artificial intelligence—both eminent players in the defense industry—are expected to be the biggest disruptive forces in the coming years. 

While new technology and digital transformation may sound complicated and even unnecessary, it has a proven positive impact on mission success and overall operations. In this blog, we will take a look at four different ways disruptive technology has benefited military processes and what the future holds for these solutions.

1. Modernized land forces

Since their introduction in the early 2010s, driverless vehicles have continued to increase in popularity. From autonomous freight trucks to Waymo (Google’s self-driving project), this technology is playing an important role for the future of transportation and logistics. And the military has been no exception to this trend. 

In the late 2010s, defense leaders faced the issue of aging combat/armored vehicles. As the innovation of driverless cars emerged, military personnel recognized how they could leverage these pieces of disruptive technology to enhance warfighter protection, lethality, and maneuverability across all domains. Especially land forces. 

Today, in an effort to modernize and digitize vehicles in the field, the U.S. Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) program acquires armored vehicles and replaces their aging tools with the latest hardware and platform innovations. These updates include everything from enhanced communication networks to armored gun systems to data collection programs. Militaries worldwide are leveraging a variety of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for various mission needs, including surveying dangerous environments and navigating tough terrains. 

The future of unmanned vehicles for land forces is projected to be a big topic of 2023. UGV and UAV engineers are continuously making technological advancements in autonomy and artificial intelligence that are sure to provide faster mission completion, increased data accuracy and—most importantly—reduced costs.

2. Complex training initiatives

When we think of Virtual Reality (VR) technology, we often think of the popular video game platform where an individual can immerse themselves in a fantasy world. However, over the last few years Augmented and Virtual Reality technology have been at the center of digital transformation among a number of industries. As part of their progressive evolution, the defense community has found ways to utilize this technology to their advantage and safety.

The onset of the multi-domain operations and preparation for high-intensity conflict brought a lot of concerns for soldier safety, specifically during the training process. With the help of VR and AR solutions, military personnel are able to develop realistic, complex battlefield scenarios to equip soldiers for the physical and cognitive demands required. With AR and VR technology, trainees can interact with life-like equipment, weapons and vehicles to create an accurate experience. 

After three years in development, this year will see the introduction of the U.S. Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) for situational awareness of the fighter pilot. The device merges night vision, augmented reality tools for training and missions, weapons site wireless linkage, and target acquisition into one tool. It is safe to say that the success of AR/VR technology will only continue to expand throughout the defense industry.

3. On-demand data and resources

Adopting cloud-computing technology has become a regular strategic business practice over the last several years in almost every industry or trade. The purpose behind this is to reduce cost, mitigate risk and achieve scalability of database capabilities. While this seems like a straightforward decision for most organizations, circles within the defense community weren’t so quick to act in the beginning. Previously, some considered cloud technology to be a hype-driven concept or just another way for a big tech company to make billions. However, companies like Microsoft have worked closely with various military branches to create effective solutions and were even awarded the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract.

As key players have come around to these new technology practices over the years, soldiers, intelligence officers and other military members have been able to capture, elevate, and securely share critical data with efficiency and accuracy no matter where they are in the world. By adopting secure data sharing technology, decision-makers are also able to create informed mission strategies to help guarantee success.

Recently, the U.S. Army announced its new data plan and its emphasis on data and data analytics. This plan is made up of short-term and long-term strategic objectives through 2030; highlighting that the growing importance of on-demand data reporting and sharing won’t be dying down any time soon.

4. Accelerated decision-making cycles

One of the biggest benefits of technological advancements is that it allows us to make faster, more educated choices in our everyday lives. While artificial intelligence and other disruptive technologies have greatly transformed military logistics, cybersecurity, communication tactics and mission preparation, decision-making practices have seen the most significant impact.

Operating in a modern, multi-domain battlespace requires a deep knowledge of cognitive processes and complex technological systems. Because these factors are constantly evolving, artificial intelligence ensures all necessary data remains accurate and up to date. This way operators and analysts are able to accelerate decision-making cycles through more rapid processing, exploitation, and dissemination of data across all platforms and domains.

The defense industry continues to be driven by a desire to innovate and transform military operations and processes. With advancements in AI, future capabilities are sure to continue supporting more effective and accurate decision making.

2024 is predicted to be a revolutionary year for technology. New disruptive trends are expected to reshape how militaries function and how personnel interact with each other—on and off the battlefield. To support these trends, Ultra I&C offers the most innovative, customizable products to help armed forces stay current and complete missions with a high success rate. Contact our team of specialists today to learn more.

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