Royal Navy to use AI in biggest Cyber War games

The Royal Navy has announced its biggest cyber war games to date, to run from 26 March to 6 April,  in and around Scotland.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be used during Information Warrior 17 to test readiness and protection of sea-faring vessels against cyber attacks.

The cyber war games training will form a part of Nato's Joint Warrior exercise. Held twice every year, the exercise involves the Army, Navy and Air Force personnel of Nato signatory countries.

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  • More than 1000 people are due to participate including Regular and Reserve Forces personnel, and civilian partners
  • First time the Royal Navy has used Cyber Operations and AI in an exercise of this scale
  • 30 organisations are taking part

The Navy has not minced words when communicating the reasoning behind this, unprecedented war game. It said the risk of cyber attacks is as real a threat as rockets, missiles and torpedoes. A lot of the combat systems, communications systems, power and propulsion control systems are run by computers. A successful cyber attack on these would disable a ship rendering it ineffective.

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'We are living in a data-driven age in which our adversaries are already exploiting the potential of Information Warfare, and we must respond in kind,' said Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord.

A key part of the cyber war games will be the use of AI technology that the Royal Navy wants to use to develop a Ship’s ‘Mind’ at the centre of its warships. Doing this, it feels, will enhance efficiency in the Fleet. It is also hoping for fast and complex decisions to be made automatically. This in turn will make warships and submarines safer and more effective in fast-moving, war-fighting situations. They are not stopping with just AI, it is also bringing in drones- to conduct intelligence and reconnaissance operations on land and at sea.

It feels that this proactive approach to focussing on cyber threats will give the Royal Navy the edge in operations.