Russia Increasing Focus on AI to Create Advanced Weapons for Troops

Four years ago, Putin said that whoever becomes a leader in artificial intelligence will be “master of the world.”

Russia is increasing its focus on artificial intelligence (AI) to create advanced weapons for the armed forces, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced at a meeting with the army leadership.

“It is necessary to ensure the introduction of artificial intelligence technologies into weapons that determine the future appearance of the armed forces,” he said during the meeting on Wednesday.

Last year, during a board meeting of the Defense Ministry, Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed that the share of advanced weapons and military hardware had gone up from 26 to 48 percent among different troops in 2014 to 70 percent in 2020.  

Russia’s AI Development Strategies

Speaking about the importance of AI in the military, Putin had first remarked in 2017 that whoever becomes a leader in the field of AI will be “master of the world.”

Russia’s first unmanned deep-sea vehicle, Poseidon, was announced in 2018. Capable of carrying nuclear weapons anywhere in the world, the autonomous vehicles are set to join the Russian navy by 2027.

Russia’s state-owned Rostec corporation, which creates high-end military products, has acknowledged that a number of its subsidiaries, including Kalashnikov and Tecmash, are working on developing AI-related weapons. Tecmash, for instance, has been incorporating AI into the volley fire systems it produces for several years now. 

Tecmash director Sergei Abramov believes that AI “is not just a replacement of a person with a machine,” but rather “an opportunity to provide greater controllability.” Abramov, who advocates new generation AI-based weaponry, also informed “such solutions have long been used in multiple launch rocket systems” at Tecmash. 

Abramov’s conclusion coincides with another closed-door meeting held by Shoigu with army commanders last week where he announced the procurement of additional hypersonic and long-range weapons is the Kremlin’s “top ongoing priority.”

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