An AI was created that runs on a laptop and can shoot down hypersonic missiles on approach

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Artificial intelligence can calculate the difficult-to-predict trajectory of hypersonic missiles, thereby providing air defense systems with the ability to shoot them down on approach.

Unpredictable trajectory prediction

China has developed an artificial intelligence that its creators claim is able to predict the flight path of hypersonic missiles, allowing – at least in theory – to launch interceptors.

In April, the Journal of Astronautics, a peer-reviewed scientific publication published by the Chinese Society of Astronautics, published an article written by members of the Chinese Air Force Early Warning Academy in Wuhan; the authors of the article claim to have developed an AI capable of calculating the most likely flight path of a hypersonic missile in the final phase of approach. The forecast is made on the basis of data about it at the initial stages of the flight.

One of the key features of hypersonic weapons, which makes it difficult to fight against it, is the ability to perform maneuvers using aerodynamic forces: the flight path of such a missile can be difficult to predict, and coupled with great speed, even automated interception systems can be useless.


Nevertheless, no one has canceled the laws of physics, and already because of this, the trajectory of a hypersonic weapon can be calculated.

15 seconds on a regular laptop

According to AI developers, it is able to give very accurate predictions in 15 seconds, and it does not require any super-powerful systems for its operation – AI runs on a regular laptop.

Simulations have shown that the AI ​​remains effective against weapons moving at Mach 12, i.e. 12 times the speed of sound.

In general, the researchers say, air defense systems can determine the trajectory of the interception of a hypersonic missile with a three-minute lead.

A key problem in calculating the trajectory of hypersonic weapons is the abundance of “noise” – junk data that early warning systems collect when tracking a rocket that has taken off.

Processing this noise as useful data can be computationally intensive; In this regard, researchers have developed a deep learning algorithm that is able to filter out “noise”, identify useful data, and ultimately mimic the work of the human brain, focusing only on what really matters.

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Not China alone

The United States is also developing AI-based anti-hypersonic weapons. According to military experts, artificial intelligence is the only working tool to increase the speed of response and reduce the likelihood of human error in countering modern high-speed weapons.

Today’s air defense systems can operate in a partially autonomous mode: for example, the American Aegis can be programmed to respond to certain parameters of approaching objects, and if the system detects a match with these parameters, a warhead is released.

However, such systems will not cope with maneuvering hypersonic missiles, at least without a well-trained human operator or without the use of artificial intelligence.

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“AI will inevitably become part of the weapons systems of the future,” says Alexey Vodyasov, CTO of SEQ. – AI does not get tired, does not give in to psychological influence, cannot gape, and definitely acts faster than a person. In addition, multiple AI-based air defense systems can easily be networked together to provide coordinated coverage over large areas. However, AI in the field of weapons requires tight control by humans, otherwise the consequences can be apocalyptic. Ideally, international conventions on the use of AI in the defense sphere are needed, but such documents cannot be expected in the foreseeable future.”

While Mach 12 is the maximum response speed of AI developed in China; quite a lot, but even today in China, hypersonic weapons systems are being developed, where the speed of a rocket can reach Mach 30. In other countries, rocket technology is also being developed, moving at a speed of 17-20 Machs and more.

Roman Georgiev

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