Profitable Ukraine Research In AI, Autonomous, and Quantum War Tech

Mike Leslie
June 07, 2024

Russia is preparing to deploy aircraft and combat naval vessels to the Caribbean to conduct military exercises in the coming weeks.

Inputs that matter: The Biden administration is not expressing concern over the deployment, with a spokesman stating it poses "no direct threat to the United States."

  • But the administration believes Moscow intends to use the exercises as a “messaging tactic” after President Joe Biden permitted Ukraine last week to fire U.S. made weapons across its border into Russia to defend its territory.
  • The official said the administration expects Moscow will "conduct heightened naval and air activity near the United States” that will likely include port calls by combat naval vessels in Cuba and possibly Venezuela."
  • The official added that the U.S. Navy is tracking the Russian movements closely and will adopt "whatever the necessary posture is to track and monitor" their activity as the exercises unfold.

The opportunity: Meanwhile, NATO plans to expand cooperation with Ukraine on defense technology and share more intelligence about Russia’s electronic warfare capabilities, as some of its members lift constraints on Kyiv’s ability to wage war.

  • Assistant Secretary General David van Weel told journalists this week that the conflict has pushed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to devote more resources to cybersecurity deterrence and tracking Russia’s military tech.
  • "Ukrainians are innovating at a very high speed," he said Tuesday in Krakow, Poland. "But, of course, the Russians are not stupid. That means innovation on the battlefield is not a static thing. It’s more like chess."
  • Recent Russian advances have led Ukraine’s allies to loosen restrictions on weapons they provide, with the U.S. and Germany authorizing attacks on Russian territory for the first time.
  • Such strikes had previously been forbidden for fear of antagonizing the country with the most significant nuclear arsenal.

Zoom in: One goal of the NATO program is to help make Ukraine a large-scale tech provider once the war ends. NATO also wants to replicate some of the rapid tech adoption and deployment seen in Ukraine since the war started, van Weel said.

  • For example, to respond to Russian jamming, Ukrainian startups are developing drones that can map terrain without GPS and navigate with onboard cameras or sensors.
  • Patrick Schneider-Sikorsky, an NIF partner, said many drone developers he meets promise their next-generation devices will not rely on GPS.

Between the lines: Ukraine has relied heavily on arms supplied by Western allies to beat back Russian forces since Putin’s full-scale invasion began more than two years ago.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Western countries they’re taking a "grave and dangerous step" by supplying weapons to Ukraine, which could result in Moscow arming their enemies.
  • "In the end, if we see that these countries become involved in a war against us, what they are doing makes them directly involved in a war against the Russian Federation, we reserve the right to act the same way," he said.
  • The Ukrainian military has started using US-supplied HIMARS rocket systems to hit Russian air defense systems, weapons depots, and other military targets on Russian territory, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament told CNN on Wednesday.
  • Yehor Cherniev, deputy chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament’s Committee on National Security, Defense, and Intelligence, said the American weapons had allowed them "to reduce the shelling of Kharkiv by Russian S-300 missiles significantly."

Follow the money: The Krakow event included a "speed-dating" session between Ukrainian startups and investors, including the NATO Innovation Fund, a €1 billion ($1.1 billion) investment vehicle launched last year that’s starting to make deals.

  • The fund targets technology innovations in artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous systems, and quantum technologies for the battlefield.

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