Every war brings in a new kind of technologies which are meant to amplify the magnitude of war and also the impact of the weapons with more precision guided and cluster munitions which can affect larger areas as well as more casualties among both civilians and military personnel. During the Russia-Ukraine war which has been one of these kinds of technology demonstrators given the fact that many of the European countries have been helping Ukraine with new kind of weapons and equipment. Russia, on the other hand, has been toying with the idea of utilising hypersonic missiles and tactical weapons to hit the strategic locations across Ukraine. Important aspect related to the new kind of technologies has been primarily missile defence, command and control, surface to air missiles, and use of hyper missiles technologies.
One important element in this war has been extensive use of information warfare and cyber war. If one looks into the amount of military aid which was closer to US $46.6 billion along with other countries such as UK and the EU nations have surpassed more than U.S. dollar 50 billion dollars as military aid to Ukraine. In terms of military aid the United states has supplied Ukraine with javelin anti tank missiles, stingers, Abraham tanks, anti UAV technologies, patriot missiles and air defence systems. In fact the use of air defence systems has been able to control the Russian air raids across Ukraine. Furthermore, very recently Germany has provided 18 leopard tanks which are seen as state-of-the-art technologies while UK has provided 14 challenger II tanks. Russia has been using Iranian made drones and which included 6 Mohajir drones which are delivered to the Russian Navy. Iran has also supplied 12 Shahid 191 and 129 drones.
Apart from extensive technologies which have been used there has been the ushering of drone warfare along with hybrid warfare given the fact that there has been utilisation of both conventional and non-conventional military tactics such as cyber-attacks. Russia launched cyber attacks on different sectors of Ukraine which included disrupting essential services, electricity supply, critical infrastructure such as bridges, power generation plants, and also pilfering of sensitive data from Ukrainian servers. The cyber attacks along with missile strikes at the power distribution centres of Ukraine have brought the life to a standstill. As a result of these cyber attacks the European Union has to deploy its cyber rapid response team so as 2 protect Ukraine from cyber threats. Ukrainian hackers have also launched counterattacks on Russian state, particularly in sectors such as banking, finance, media, and transmission systems.One of the reasons for this extensive use of technology has been related to Armenia Azerbaijan war in which the Turkish drones have wreaked havoc on Armenian positions leading to massive damages on the Armenian side. Furthermore, it was stated that the Armenian weapon systems which are primarily of Russian origin where ineffective encountering these drone attacks made by Azerbaijan armed forces.
With the attack on Ukrainian Internet services it was also critical for many of the nations supporting Ukraine to maintain its Internet services and in that context SpaceX and its space-based Internet services Starlink has come to the rescue. This Internet service helped Ukrainian president to maintain contact with the outside world. The military has been using Starlink for monitoring and coordinating drone attacks on Russian positions, and therefore it was seen as one of those elements which have helped Ukrainian establishment to keep itself connected with the outside world as well as undertaking network-centric warfare. Starlink has exposed the limitation of Russian technology and therefore technology is increasingly seen as more potent force in wars. It also showcases that how civilian satellites can share data for protecting national security and therefore even these space based internet services might be open to cyber attacks in near future. However the extensive use of technologies has been extremely costly and also has drained the two economies in terms of sustaining the war.
The Russia-Ukraine war has also been called as the first cyber World War and there has been increasing use of distributed denial of service attacks, use of cyber weapons, malware, and Trojans. Not only Russia has attacked Ukrainian cyberinfrastructure but it has also made intrusion efforts in 42 countries as well as more than 100 organisations across the world. As a result of which there has been increased emphasis on developing cloud network, better encryptions, and extensive firewalls to protect servers and systems.During the war it was stated that there were more than 1300 cyber attacks and 1/5 of Ukrainian fibre network has been damaged.
Another impact has been the use of social media for tracking the positions of soldiers from both sides. Russia had used its own surveillance system SORM to monitor the user data of it soldiers and also restricting use of internet to the soldiers on ground. SORM was the network was Nokia equipment and software network which was left behind by the company when they left Russia. Further use of misinformation and propaganda has been seen from both sides. During the war as well there has been wide use of satellite imagery provided through more than 5000 satellites helping the two sides in monitoring troop movements, military buildup, migration of refugees, and moving of ordnance.
In fact the use of various kinds of artillery and missiles systems such as howitzers, hypersonic missiles, ballistic missiles, and rocket launchers have led to damage to 4000 base stations and more than 22 per cent of optical fibre network of Ukraine. Along with this many broadcasting antennas have either been damaged or destroyed on the Ukrainian side. US has been helping Ukraine in directing fire through javelin anti tank munitions on Russian positions through very advanced intelligence and software ever used in any war. It was earlier conceived that Ukrainian defence would be facile and Russia would be able to rout the country through short and sharp war. But this has not happened because of the use of electronic warfare systems which have been extensively used for disrupting communications, signal jamming, and interference in onboard electronic systems.
Further there has been use of virtual reality and 3D projection which has helped in Ukrainian president Zelensky to reach out to its people and also help the new Ukrainian soldiers in tactics and simulation. Also artificial intelligence has been used for targeting Russian positions despite the fact that the use of AI has been question on ethical grounds. The use of AI based imaging and facial recognition software was used to identify deceased soldiers and interlink it with their social media profiles thereby informing their near and dear ones about the untimely demise of the person concerned.
The Russia-Ukraine war could be one of the cases which should be studied very deeply by all the military and strategic experts so as to know the future of warfare which might be transcending into different domains such as irregular warfare, hybrid warfare, information warfare, psychological warfare, cyber warfare, and exploring new domains such as big data and artificial intelligence which can be used in the battlefield. It is important for all the developing countries to develop capacities and training of its personnel to find the countermeasures and also train themselves in operating the new kind of systems and technologies.