Artificial Intelligence in Missile Technology

Last Updated: 11 Jul 2021
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Artificial Intelligence is a branch of Science that deals with helping machines finding solutions to complex problems in a more human-like fashion. It is intelligence exhibited by any manufactured system, which is often used in works of science fiction. The term is often applied to general-purpose computers and also in the field of scientific investigation into the theory and practical application. This generally involves borrowing characteristics from human intelligence, and applying them as algorithms in a computer friendly way. For more complex problems, things get more difficult.

Unlike humans, computers have trouble understanding in specific situations and adapting to new situations. Artificial Intelligence aims to improve machine behavior in tackling such complex tasks. A more or less flexible or efficient approach can be taken depending on the requirements established, which influences how artificial the intelligent behavior appears. From AI we can learn something about how to make machines solve problems by observing other people or just by observing our own methods. On the other hand, most work in AI involves studying the problems the world presents to intelligence rather than studying people or animals.

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Various Generations of a Computer

With the advent of computers there has been a vast proliferation in them. A computer is truly an amazing machine as it performs various functionalities. For generations, it has been the constant endeavor of man to get the better of his adversary by inventing more and more potent computers. Till today we got five generations of computers. The 1st generation computers used vacuum tubes. These computers occupied large space, liberated a large amount of heat and also lead to many uncontrolled operations. The 2nd generation computers used enormous number of transistors.

After some years these transistors were fabricated on a single chip called ICs. Computers using these were called the 3rd generation computers. With the advancement of technology in VLSI, a large number of ICs were integrated on a single chip made of silicon, which is further used by the 4th generation computers. An attempt is being made to apply artificial intelligence on these computers, which constitutes the 5th generation computers. These computers are expected to be faster results and thus may influence international policies, strategy and tactics to an enormous extent.

Is AI different from Human Intelligence?

Alan Turing's article “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” discussed some conditions where a machine can be used in an intelligent fashion. He argued that if a machine can perform successfully as a human can do, then the observer will certainly consider it as an intelligent device. This test called Turing test would satisfy many people but not all the philosophers. The observer can be able to interact with the machine but can’t differentiate it from the actual human works (actions & voices) while interacting and thus it camouflages the observer. The Turing test is a one-sided test.

A machine that passes this test should certainly be considered as intelligent, irrespective of having knowledge about human. There are many adversaries about this fact, that an excellent discussion on the Turing test is not supportive, with restrictions on the observer's knowledge of AI and the subject matter of questioning. It turns out that some people are easily misinterpreted that, a rather dumb program is intelligent. When we set out to design an AI program, we should attempt to specify as well as possible the criteria for success for that particular program functioning in its restricted domain.

Hardware for AI

In order to use AI in any system a few hardware specifications are required. The minimum requirements include a computing system containing an IC built processor, a control unit, memory devices, and a converter for external interfaces, floating-point unit, input-output ports and timers. These components work relatively with the computing system as per the AI oriented software.

Software for AI

Software is the intelligence that runs the hardware in a computer. Basically AI is in form of information fed to the processor through a programming language.

The parameters acts as input that results into desired output. A fifth generation language use AI to create software based on our description of what the software should do.

Missile Technology and AI

  • Missile: It is an object or weapon that is fired, thrown, dropped, or projected at a target. Missiles play major role in warfare.

The earlier versions of missiles were simple in design and operation. When the fighter plane first came into use the missiles used were of simple nature that involved only target mode and firing angle. The present day missiles are much complicated.

The concept of employment of these missiles has also undergone a drastic change.

  • Chasers: It is a type of missile that may be designed to chase the target until it hits or causes damage to the target.

The Chaser contains an OBCS in its control unit, which contains AI as a backup, which will guide itself during its trajectory. Chaser continuously emits either Laser light, Infrared rays or Radio waves continuously from its IR Dome. When the enemy unit comes in its path a part of these waves reflect back giving a signal to the Chaser.

Then this missile automatically changes its position so as to knock down the enemy.  The OBCS mainly contains an IC built processor, a control unit, memory devices like flash memory, SRAM, NVRAM, communication devices like UART and a converter for external interfaces. It is the seeker that actually applies AI. Before missile is launched the target is fed to the OBC in the form of a signal or image, which is basically intelligence. The seeker continuously scans the image target and gives signal to the OBCS.

The input is in the form of co-ordinates that allows the chaser to change the position of radar and direction of missile by changing the position of the fins, nozzle and wings such that the target is always at its center of view. This is done by the control unit by varying the altitudes of the missile i. e. Roll, Yaw and Pitch thus guiding the missile towards its target. The missile control operation follows a closed loop system.

  • Characteristics: The following are the characteristics to be possessed by a Chaser:
  1. The chaser should be faster than sharp enemy. It should take the shortest path to reach the enemy.
  2. The Propellant composition should be such that it is able to effectively engage the target.
  3. The longitudinal, lateral and vertical axis of missile must be varied in a smooth fashion when enemy tries to dive or jump suddenly.
  • Future Trends: With the application of AI the missiles may be capable of automatic target recognition and even be able to tell the condition of the terrain.

It may be able to identify tanks and trucks as friendly or enemy vehicles. The missile, while in flight may have the ability to prioritize target on battlefield.

If the missile thinks that it should go after a high priority target rather than trying to kill its original target, it will do so. Software programme will be so advanced that mission options will be decided by brains built into the missiles with the help of embedded real time computers. The ongoing developments and changes in this field may however cannot be forecasted.

Development of AI in India

India launched its missile development programme through IGMDP under the aegis of DRDO, the premier defence research agency.

Under this programme five missile systems are currently under different stages of development and production. BDL, Hyderabad has also been established as a premier production agency for all missile systems. The following missiles form part of IGMDP: Prithvi - Introduced in 1996 Trishul - under development AKASH - under development NAG - under development AGNI - under development The most recent attempt made for the development of AI based technology in India is the design of Anupama Processor. It has been designed at Anurag Research Institute, Hyderabad.

Anupama was first used in Mission Control system mounted on under water self propelled missile, Torpedo. It is a 32-bit processor based on RISC architecture. It mainly contains a 32-bit floating-point unit, 32-bit parallel input-output port and two 16-bit timers. It has a non-multiplexed bus structure with 32 data lines and 32 address lines. A bus interface unit supports Synchronous, Asynchronous and Burst data transverse. It also supports dynamic bus sizing. The same can also be used in OBCS of chasers.

Other Applications


Robots are typically used to do tasks that are too dull, dirty, or dangerous for humans.

Industrial robots used in manufacturing lines used to be the most common form of robots. Other applications of Robotics include toxic waste cleanup, underwater and space exploration, surgery, mining, search and rescue, and mine finding. Robots are also finding their way into entertainment and home health care.


Artificial Intelligence in Medicine allow computers to process and analyze three-dimensional images of the heart in much the same way an experienced human operator would.

The program applies artificial intelligence techniques to the measurement of parameters critical to understanding the state and behavior of the human heart. This automated approach allows information to be obtained very quickly that is quantitatively accurate and does not suffer from intra-observer or inter-observer variability. The software and algorithms developed by the AIM program are widely considered to represent the gold standard in nuclear cardiology.


AI systems are used to detect fraud and expenditure financial transactions, with daily transaction volumes in billions.

These systems first use learning algorithms to construct profiles of consumer usage patterns, and then use the resulting profiles to detect unusual patterns and take appropriate action.

Data Processing

Data Mining, the extraction of hidden predictive information from large databases, is a powerful new technology with great potential to help companies focus on most important information in the data warehouses. Data mining tools predict future trends and behaviors, allowing business to make proactive, knowledge-driven decisions.

It answers business questions that traditionally were too time consuming to resolve. The past history in the form of records is taken as a backup, which is fed in the form of intelligence for data processing.

Game playing

The AI based machines can be applied for playing games mainly through brute force computation using the entire game play as a backup in the form of AI. Advantage of using this type of machine is the players can have a practice session where they will have a tough opponent (machine) and then in a real match the players will not face much difficulty.

Speech Recognition

The areas where continous interaction is required between the user and computer, the need not go for the commands using input devices. He can just dictate the commands while the system accepts it in the form of speech signal and achieves the task to be performed. Ex: In a highly protected zone where the security levels must be maintained high can make use of speech recognition system, where the password can be broken only by a particular official.

Computer Vision

The human eye as well as TV cameras capture objects and give it as an input to the main system. But here the input given is two-dimensional; some programs may run with this input while the computers require partial three-dimensional information that can be possible by computer vision.

Machine Translation

It is a form of translation where a computer program analyses text in one language i. e. , “Source text” and attempts to produce another language called “Target text” without human intervention.

Handwriting Recognition

Several attempts were made to produce ink pens that include digital components such that a person write on a paper and have the resulting text stored digitally. So the user need not write once in a paper and then enter it again as input in computer, thus saving time.

Friendly AI

Friendliness theory is a proposed solution to the dangers believed to stem from smarter-than-human artificial intelligence.

According to the theory, the goals of future AIs will be more arbitrary and alien than commonly depicted in science fiction and earlier futurist speculation, in which AIs are often anthropomorphized and assumed to share universal human desires. Because AI is not guaranteed to see the “obvious” aspects of morality and goals that humans see so effortlessly, the theory goes, AIs with intelligences greater than our own may concern themselves with endeavors that humans would see as pointless or even laughably bizarre.

One example is that of an AI initially designed to manufacture paperclips, which, upon becoming superhumanly intelligent, tries to develop molecular nanotechnology because it wants to convert all matter in the solar system into paperclips. Friendliness theory stresses less the danger of superhuman AIs that actively seek to harm humans, but more of AIs that are disastrously indifferent to them if steps are not taken to specifically design them to be benevolent. Doing so effectively is the primary goal of Friendly AI. This belief that human goals are so arbitrary derives heavily from modern advances in evolutionary psychology.

Friendliness theory claims that most AI speculation is clouded by analogies between AIs and humans, and assumptions that all possible minds must exhibit characteristics that are actually psychological adaptations that exist in humans (and other animals) only because they were once beneficial and perpetuated by natural selection. Many supporters of FAI speculate that AI able to alter and improve itself, seed AI, is likely to create a huge power disparity between it and less intelligent human minds, that its ability to reprogram itself would very quickly outpace human ability to exercise any meaningful control over it.

While many doubt such scenarios are likely, if they were to occur, it would be important for AI to act benevolently towards humans. One of the most recent significant advancements in Friendliness theory is the collective volition model. More concretely, the collective volition of humanity is the actions we would collectively take if we knew more, thought faster, etc Friendly AI should initially seek to determine the collective volition of humanity, with which it can then alter its goals accordingly.


Artificial intelligence has to be applied to the machines where the human involvement is not applicable. Keeping this in point of view, we have seen ample applications in real life so as to enhance the life of the human. These machines are very well suited for real time systems because of their fast response and computational efforts. In future people will witness a radical change in the cyber environment in the form of artificial intelligent oriented technologies. The country’s economical development depends on the strength of Defence.

The chaser missile mentioned in this paper uses this reliable technology playing a prominent role in fortifying the defence. Further research on the lines of missile technology using AI may fetch more advanced and better technology in designing the missiles. From past so many years India was depending on other countries for its requirements in Defence. Now with this India will be self-dependant. Regarding the usage of AI even today there are so many comments on the threat towards humans from this intelligent so called machines.

For this the friendly AI mentioned in this paper can be an answer. Finally we would like to conclude that the applications of Artificial Intelligence might be applied in real life making it no longer a fiction.


  • AI: Artificial Intelligence.
  • IC: Integrated circuit.
  • VLSI: Very Large Scale Integration.
  • OBCS: Onboard Computer System
  • SRAM: Static Random Access Memory
  • NVRAM: Non Volatile RAM
  • UART: Universal asynchronous receiver transmitter
  • RISC: Reduced Instruction Set Computing
  • IGMDP: Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.
  • DRDO: Defence Research and Development Organisation.
  • BDL: Bharat Dynamics Limited.
  • RCI: Research Center Imarat
  • ASL: Advanced Systems Lab


  1. “Computing Machinery & Artificial Intelligence” 3rd edition, by Alan Turing.
  2. Research paper on “Machine Intelligence” by Sankar Kumar Paul, Indian Stastical Institute, Kolkata.
  3. “Super Intelligent Machines” by Bill Hibbard.
  4. “Artificial Intelligence” 2nd edition 2004, by Elaine. Rich and Kevin Knight.
  5. “Applications of AI” by Richardson, IEEE paper, September 2004.

Cite this Page

Artificial Intelligence in Missile Technology. (2018, Sep 20). Retrieved from

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