Rafael unveils AI, deep learning tech for IDF infantry troops

Rafael unveils AI, deep learning tech for IDF infantry troops

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has unveiled a technological breakthrough for Israeli ground forces that is aimed at improving their ability to engage enemy targets while using a system of artificial intelligence and Automatic Target Recognition (ATR).The ATR system – a combination of AI and deep learning – was installed last year on Rafael’s SPICE-250 precision guided smart bombs enabling them to identify moving targets and differentiate them from other objects and terrain.Now, Rafael is offering the ATR for individual soldiers, proposing a new vision for the IDF that fuses between different capabilities to create a multi-dimensional battlefield.Under the new system, all parties in the battle will see the same image – provided by the goggles of an infantry soldier or a sensor on a fighter jet. It will mark and indicate targets and will create a common language for all users.ATR, one of the developing Rafael technologies that will help create this language and mark the targets, allows “smart weapons” to understand what they see through AI – whether it’s a person, a wall or a weapon – and then feed the target into the main system.In recent decades, officials explained, warfare has become more urban, and combat often happens among civilians – or “uninvolveds,” as they are often referred to in the IDF.The basic premise of the conceptualization of the new battlefield is that soldiers no longer see battles like those fought during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when divisions of tanks maneuvered in open space and infantry units were sent to conquer hills.

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These days, the target is often invisible or difficult to detect. It could be a lone gunman in a window who appears for a split second and then disappears. It can also be a terrorist who hides underground and then suddenly appears somewhere else. The enemy has become more sophisticated and efficient, and utilizes better technology.If until now, the different branches of the military – the air force, the navy and the ground forces – all used different systems for their own purposes, the multi-dimensional battlefield perception is advancing an integrative system, which will use a fusion of capabilities, information and autonomous tools to serve the purposes of the new battlefield.From underground, up through the ground and air into outer space, all the different units must use a unified system that will allow them to work better together, officials at Rafael said.
THE NEW system will classify each target and assist lone infantry soldiers in understanding what is in the field. When used with SPICE bombs (Smart, Precise Impact, Cost-Effective) during flight, a pilot selects the target attacked and allocates a target to each weapon. The weapons are then launched toward the vicinity of the targets and as they approach they use the ATR mode to detect and recognize what it is they are supposed to attack. Each weapon locks in on the predefined target, either autonomously or with a human-in-the-loop, aided by the ATR algorithm.In addition, Rafael is developing a system that can be installed on drones and ground vehicles that can serve as “eyes on the ground” and carry out ground-based intelligence missions – also for indoor operations.These devices, using Rafael sensors, can map in real time the inside of a house: They can identify who the people are inside, as well as identify the objects in it – including classifying which weapons are there. The device feeds the map for all parties on the battlefield to see, and thereby can determine which is the right one to engage the threat.This adds up to a system that is already being assimilated in the IDF – the Fire Weaver – which serves as the social network of the battlefield. It integrates all the information that was collected by the different participants and sends it to all the rest: the commander and ordinary soldier, the war room, the chopper in the air, the battleship out at sea, etc.“Now, we can really talk about connecting in real-time between the fighter jet, the chopper, the UAV – to the tank, the soldier the AFV [Armored Fighting Vehicle] – in all terrains, in every point of time and doing it in a continuity,” said Rafael CEO Yoav Har-Even.“What enables this [breakthrough] is advanced intelligence collection abilities from manned and unmanned platforms, and the ability to put everything in one place – then fusing this information and sending it out to the relevant forces on the ground.”

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