NATO Uses AI to Monitor Russian Aircraft and Fueling Stations

NATO, the US-led military alliance, is employing artificial intelligence to analyze satellite imagery of Russian airfields, according to the bloc’s Assistant Secretary General for Innovation, Hybrid and Cyber, David van Weel.

Van Weel, speaking at the NATO-Ukraine Defense Innovators Forum at AGH University of Krakow, Poland, revealed that NATO is using AI to monitor Russian aircraft and fuel depots. He also highlighted the alliance’s commitment to bolstering collaboration with Ukraine, mentioning a forthcoming agreement on “battlefield innovation”.

“The energy for more collaboration between Ukrainian and Allied innovation ecosystems was contagious, and is exactly why Allies and Ukraine are working together on a new innovation agreement in the NATO-Ukraine Council,” van Weel stated.

Van Weel cited the analysis of satellite imagery using AI as an example of the integration of AI technologies within NATO. He assured that the application of AI in this context adheres to the alliance’s ethical AI principles.

“It’s low-risk,” van Weel said. “Nobody gets killed if you get the number off.”

Recent reports indicate that Ukraine has intensified efforts to target Russian airfields, both near the frontlines and deep within Russia’s territory. Russia, in turn, has reportedly increased its reliance on frontline aviation, particularly for launching aerial bombs equipped with UMPK (Universal Glide and Correction Module) guided kits.

Several Ukrainian military sources have noted the growing use of UMPK-fitted bombs by Russia, attributing setbacks on the battlefield to the effectiveness of this weapon.

UMPK modules, often considered an equivalent to the US-made Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits, can be fitted to most freefall bombs in Russia’s arsenal. These modules are frequently upgraded with thermobaric and cluster munitions, which have been observed being used in combat.