Soldiers in snow with AT4 launcher, demonstrating modern warfare preparedness in challenging conditions

Defending freedom in a digital age: insights from Europe's defence innovators

Insights from SAAB reveal the role of tech, AI, and innovation in safeguarding freedom on the digital battlefield

Step into the future, where the battleground is no longer defined solely by physical landscapes, but by the rapidly shifting interface of technology, innovation, and strategy. ASD member SAAB shares with us insights into the rapidly changing face of warfare, where digitalisation, artificial intelligence, and innovation converge to safeguard freedom and democracy.

The changing battlefield

In the words of Jonatan Olofsson, a specialist in autonomous functions at SAAB, the battlefield is undergoing a rapid transformation. Civilian products are being repurposed in innovative ways, driven by the urgency to deploy effective solutions swiftly. In regions like Ukraine, where technology plays a crucial role, the intersection of a vibrant tech sector and military operations is creating an environment characterised by rapid innovation.

Olofsson also highlights the shift towards simpler systems deployed in larger quantities, with the potential to overwhelm traditional defence mechanisms. From civilian drones repurposed for various tasks, to open-source encrypted chat apps being used to influence public social media spaces, the battlefield is no longer confined to the physical realm.

Olofsson predicts a shift to even simpler systems deployed in larger quantities, introducing a new paradigm for both attack and defence. The concept of swarms, where multiple small, fast systems overwhelm larger ones, poses a significant challenge. The asymmetry of cost, coupled with the need for smarter, autonomous systems, hints at the complexity of the future battlefield.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a key player in the modern battlefield, particularly in cyberspace. Olofsson highlights how software, driven by AI, is being used on a massive scale to influence public attitudes through social media. With just limited resources, media can be distributed in ways that reach and impact millions.

As we navigate this ever-changing landscape, Europe's defence industry plays a pivotal role in adapting to and shaping the future of warfare. The importance of staying ahead in technology and AI cannot be overstated. In safeguarding freedom and democracy, the defence industry continues to be at the forefront, ensuring that the values we hold dear remain protected in this digital age.

Source: SAAB