Israeli defense company looks to AI as game-changer in space and weapons

Israel Aerospace Industries is not the only defense company in Israel that has recognized the growing importance of AI in the future battlefield.

THE OFEK 16 satellite is shot into space from a site in center of the country on Monday. (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
THE OFEK 16 satellite is shot into space from a site in center of the country on Monday.
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and big data will have a significant role in space technology and defense systems developed by the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in the near future.
A new collaboration with Matrix, announced last week, suggests that IAI is looking to expand its operations and develop new automated systems for its various space technology programs, as well as for its defense systems aimed at providing a comparative advantage for troops on the future battlefield.
Matrix is an Israeli company that specializes in “providing comprehensive multi-disciplinary consulting services.” With over 20 years of experience and more than 10,000 employees across the globe, the company is considered one of Israel’s leading strategic consultants for technological-based solutions. The company’s Defense Branch has worked with the IDF on various projects in the past and serves the Israeli defense establishment at large.
The agreement signed between IAI and Matrix includes the establishment of an R&D center that will focus on developing technologies based on AI, machine learning and big data and integrating them into existing systems. The center’s first projects will attempt to integrate AI-based solutions in automated systems for identifying targets on the battlefield in real time.
IAI has been working with and developing AI technology for years. However, the new center will allow the company to dramatically expand its existing R&D capacity in various fields and to pursue projects that had previously been impossible. The center will be operated by a team comprising both IAI and Matrix specialists from various fields of expertise.
Inbal Kreiss, head of innovation at IAI’s Missiles & Space Division, noted the practical benefits that the collaboration between IAI and Matrix will have on the company’s future endeavors.
“This collaboration is part of new innovation processes being promoted by the IAI with the purpose of developing and integrating novel technologies, increasing the financial and technological value of our projects and creating new impacts on operational systems used by our clients,” Kreiss said.
“Expanding our current AI capabilities will allow us to improve the tactical capabilities of troops on the battlefield in a more automated way, which is less susceptible to human errors - a significant advantage on the future battlefield.”
Kreiss’s remarks correspond with various estimations that point to a growing uncertainty regarding the nature of the conflicts that Israel may need to face in the near future.
Drones, cyberwarfare and biological warfare all threaten to change the battlefield as we know it and to pose new and unexpected threats to troops on the ground. Considering the endless streams of data that operators of military systems must process at any given time, big data and AI can go a long way in analyzing a battlefield while considering unexpected factors, thus improving response time and potentially saving lives.
Head of IA research at Matrix’s Defense Branch, Ron Barak, noted the advantages that Matrix’s experience in AI R&D brings to the table.
“For several years now, Matrix has been developing a research center focusing on AI research and deep learning in particular,” Barak said. “Matrix’s solutions are integrated in a number of information and digital transformation channels [...] we firmly believe that joint R&D conducted by specialists from IAI together with researchers and experienced developers from Matrix will lead to groundbreaking achievements in IAI’s operations,” he concluded.
But IAI is not the only defense company in Israel that has recognized the growing importance of AI in the future battlefield.
In December last year, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems unveiled a technological breakthrough aimed at improving the ability to engage enemy targets through AI and Automatic Target Recognition (ATR). The system is expected to be integrated in the IDF’s ground forces units.
In other AI-related news, an Israeli technology company called AIDOC Medical has recently announced the launch of the first ever AI-based notification system that facilitates rapid risk assessment and medical care coordination for high-risk pulmonary embolism patients.