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Roman Durnev

Head of the Scientific and Organizational Department at the Russian Academy of Missile and Artillery Sciences, Doctor of Engineering, Associate Professor

Kirill Kryukov

Deputy Head of the Scientific and Organizational Department at the Russian Academy of Missile and Artillery Sciences, Ph.D. (Psychology)

This study presents the results of an analysis of future warfare. As the paper states, cyber warfare will be waged at a strategic level. The operative level will be characterized by the use of long-range precision weapons against economic infrastructure. The tactical level will be characterized by the massive use of autonomous ground-based, air and sea weapons systems, as well as by individual military personnel with enhanced psychophysical capabilities.

Objective scientific and technical forecasting is an extremely complex process, especially in the military-technical sphere, and even more so with regard to any long-term projections. This is due to the enormous size of the problem, leading to a “combinatorial explosion,” the exponential nature of modern development and other factors mentioned in. In general, predicting the future behavior of any complex system involves non-linear dependencies with numerous degrees of freedom. Chaos theory tells us that even with a small number of degrees of freedom, a fully deterministic non-linear system can behave in a highly unpredictable (chaotic) way. Therefore, most military-technical forecasts are based on a permanent inventory of different types of weapons, military and special equipment (WMSE) with a set of main tactical and technical characteristics improving gradually over time, as assessed by experts. These forecasts (even the long-term ones) often involve barrel gunpowder artillery, conventional tanks and many other existing weapons which, according to researchers, will feature significantly improved rate of fire, effective range, accuracy, firepower and other characteristics in the future. It is certain that such types of weapons and equipment will continue to exist, but it appears that they will be superseded by weapons based on other principles, namely those implying new methods and conditions of use and, consequently, new formats and methods of combat operations.

In general, it should be emphasized that future strategic confrontations between nations and societies will no longer be exclusively military in nature, but rather holistic in covering all possible human activities (from material to mental), all forms of nature (animate and inanimate) and all levels of knowledge (from the macrocosm to the microcosm).

At the strategic level, combat operations will mostly involve long-range precision systems. It has long been known that the decisive role in future wars will be played not by large ground forces or nuclear weapons, but rather by high-precision conventional weapons and weapons based on new physical principles. These types of weapons are gradually replacing the current numerous combined-arms formations, and will eventually completely replace both nuclear weapons and conventional ground troops. A massive conventional high-precision attack on military and economic facilities is capable of paralysing any country, and the destruction of hazardous facilities can cause environmental disasters.

This analysis indicates that, at the strategic level, war will mostly be waged in cyberspace, as a digital warfare for resources. The strategic level will see massive use of long-range high-precision weapon systems, mostly against economic infrastructure. Tactically, we will witness the widespread use of autonomous ground-based, air and sea weapons systems, as well as of individual humans with enhanced psychophysical capabilities.


This study presents the results of an analysis of future warfare. As the paper states, cyber warfare will be waged at a strategic level. The operative level will be characterized by the use of long-range precision weapons against economic infrastructure. The tactical level will be characterized by the massive use of autonomous ground-based, air and sea weapons systems, as well as by individual military personnel with enhanced psychophysical capabilities.

Humanity has always been interested in the future. This is not so much out of the natural curiosity of Homo sapiens, but due to fear for the future of humanity. This is why societies maintained their oracles, astrologers, fortune-tellers and prophets.

These attitudes have not changed over time. The only difference is that, in our age of scientific and technical progress, individual epiphanies have been largely replaced by so-called objective methods, including delphi, foresight or system dynamics. However, despite their heavy lean on mathematics, the use of quantitative methods for assessing trends and extrapolating data outside of the measured range produces results that are not much more reliable than the descriptions of the future by Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Stanislaw Lem or Ivan Yefremov. Their predictions create an “illusion of realization”: their descriptions of future phenomena and processes are incredibly general, so the probability of such scenarios being implemented is fairly high. However, if we add a handful of details to such forecasts, they will immediately become nothing but fantasies. This can be explained by probability theory. Each detail in description has its probability of being realized, and a combination of such details, conjoined by the Boolean operator AND, will have a summed probability equal to the product of the original probabilities; therefore it will be significantly less probable than each of the original probabilities taken separately. It is obvious that the more detail there is in a forecast, the less reliable that forecast will be, and vice versa.

Objective scientific and technical forecasting is an extremely complex process, especially in the military-technical sphere, and even more so with regard to any long-term projections. This is due to the enormous size of the problem, leading to a “combinatorial explosion,” the exponential nature of modern development, and other factors mentioned in [1]. In general, predicting the future behavior of any complex system involves non-linear dependencies with numerous degrees of freedom. Chaos theory tells us that even with a small number of degrees of freedom, a fully deterministic non-linear system can behave in a highly unpredictable (chaotic) way [2]. Therefore, most military-technical forecasts are based on a permanent inventory of different types of weapons, military and special equipment (WMSE) with a set of main tactical and technical characteristics improving gradually over time, as assessed by experts. These forecasts (even the long-term ones) often involve barrel gunpowder artillery, conventional tanks and many other existing weapons which, according to researchers, will feature significantly improved rate of fire, effective range, accuracy, firepower and other characteristics in the future. It is certain that such types of weapons and equipment will continue to exist, but it appears that they will be superseded by weapons based on other principles, namely those implying new methods and conditions of use and, consequently, new formats and methods of combat operations.

Ideally, in order to predict land warfare, it is necessary first to forecast the future development of the global systems and Russia; the technological trends that can be used as the basis for creating new WMSE; the possible formats and methods of warfare at the strategic, operational and tactical levels; the role to be played by ground troops in the long term; how ground-based weapons will develop over time in Russia and abroad, etc.

However, given the inherent complexity of such predictions, this article aims to describe, at least in general terms, possible terrestrial warfare “beyond the horizon of time,” based mainly on existing technological trends. Fully aware of the fundamental unpredictability of the future, the authors are convinced that any criticism of this article, especially constructive feedback complete with proposals of alternative visions, would pave the way for the creation of a fairly complete range of expert opinions that can then be combined in order to outline ways of achieving the desired results. After all, the best way to predict the future is to create it.

By extrapolating current technology trends, and in the spirit of [3], which is based on conversations with over 300 international scientists, we may predict the emergence of the following technologies by 2030:

  • Wi-Fi-enabled smart glasses or contact lenses;
  • self-driving ground vehicles;
  • flexible displays and gas- or liquid-based volumetric displays;
  • full-scale (3D, sound-enabled and partially tactile) virtual images of objects;
  • expert information service systems, including expert medical systems for diagnosing diseases complete with DNA microarrays and portable (smartphone-based) MRI scanners;
  • genome medicine, systems for genetic testing and partial genetic therapy;
  • genetic modification of plants;
  • nanoparticles for the targeted transportation of medicines and the destruction of cancer cells;
  • the massive use of alternative power sources (solar, wind, tidal and hydrogen);
  • transport systems running on electricity, hydrogen, etc.

Virtually all of these developments are already at the laboratory stage and even have led to some prototypes. By the year 2030, they are expected to hit the commercial market.

The predictions for other developments listed in [3] mention the years 2070 and 2100. However, as numerous scientific and media reports, humanity is approaching a point of singularity [4], when extremely significant changes will take place in very short periods of time. For this reason, it would be more realistic for the following technologies to become universally accessible by 2050:

  • augmented or mixed reality systems;
  • universal translators;
  • holographic communications;
  • modular self-adaptive robots and automated service providers;
  • human brain models: precise structural-morphological models down to the neuron level; functional models capable of most of the intellectual functions involved in pattern recognition;
  • genetic-level treatment of diseases normally caused by a single damaged gene;
  • genetic modification of animals and humans;
  • quantum computers;
  • programmable matter that can be made to shape itself into the desired structure;
  • industrial laser-induced thermonuclear fusion;

As for the technological trends that will emerge by 2070, we can note here the following:

  • mind control of material objects, hardware-software telepathy and telekinesis;
  • computer-enabled mind reading based on MRI patterns, visualization and articulation of human thoughts;
  • human brain models: precise structural-morphological models down to the molecular level; functional models capable of most of the intellectual functions involved in rational thinking;
  • combined natural/artificial animal and human bodies containing both natural and artificial organs and body parts;
  • avatars (robotic entities) with sensors that can feed information to humans, enabling the latter to mind-control the avatar;
  • genetic methods of preventing the ageing processes and considerably prolonging human life;
  • resurrecting extinct species and creating new (hybrid) life forms;
  • nanomolecular replication capable of building macroscale objects with individual molecules and atoms;
  • mobile thermonuclear reactors;
  • magnetic levitation (Maglev) forms of transport, etc.

To sum up the above, the following qualitative characteristics of humanity’s future may be singled out:

  • extremely high-speed processing speeds of enormous volumes of data;
  • profound control of all four types of fundamental interactions (strong [nuclear], weak, gravitation and electromagnetic) and the practical use of various types of energy in the required proportions and combinations;
  • expanded theoretical and empirical knowledge about matter, the ability to produce materials with the requisite properties, atomic-level assembly of any structures;
  • understanding of the fundamental functioning principles of living matter and ability to design organisms with the requisite functions.

It is, of course, impossible to predict the quantitative level of these achievements within any specific timeline. Apart from the aforementioned non-linear nature of processes with numerous degrees of freedom, another significant difficulty in predicting such levels is posed by reverse causal processes (as defined in system dynamics, see [5]) which suppress, balance out or expedite direct causal processes; these, in turn, affect reverse causal processes, and so on.

In this sense, an example of direct causation is the increasing power supply available to humanity, and an example of reverse causation is the continuing depletion of non-renewable natural resources. However, periodic scaremongering campaigns about the possibility of a catastrophic decrease in proven oil reserves are replaced by optimistic reports about the use of alternative energy sources. These reports are then replaced by assessments of the areas of the earth’s surface that will need to be allocated for an alternative power-generating infrastructure: windmills, solar panels, tidal power plants, etc.

In the IT sector, direct causation is determined by Moore’s law, which states that computer power increases exponentially. Positive predictions made on the basis of this law are now being replaced by reports that the capacity of silicon-based microelectronics has been nearly exhausted. Many manufacturers are already announcing the emergence of nanometric transistors. Further downscaling will result in quantum-mechanical uncertainties, whereas increasing the size of transistors will involve limited information transmission speeds that are determined by the speed of light. One way of addressing this situation would be to switch to carbon-based (for example, graphene-based) microelectronics or quantum calculations. As regards to quantum computing, preserving coherence appears to be a serious problem, among other things.

All these direct and reverse causal factors cannot be predicted; they become known through scientific research, and only then do scientists seek to explain them in the form of hypotheses and theories. Therefore, it is impossible to predict a critical point in humanity. That said, an understanding of how these trends are developing nevertheless allows us to make an approximate prognosis for the future formats and methods of warfare.

Also, predictions of future wars, especially in terms of advanced weapon systems, may involve drawing analogies as a method of scientific cognition that allows knowledge to be acquired about certain systems, objects or phenomena based on their similarity to other systems, objects or phenomena. One of the most productive methods in the development of technical systems is to draw analogies with nature or, more specifically, with biology. In addition to the fact that humanity has always involuntarily based its inventions on observations of the outside world (thus, birds wings informed aircraft wings, clouds informed hot-air balloons and tumbleweeds informed the wheel), bionics has recently become part of design processes. In this sense, the use of natural analogies appears similarly productive for over-the-horizon forecasting of how WMSE will evolve.

The most appropriate analogy would be that of biological evolution (the term comes from the Latin word evolutio, i.e. deployment). Even without any deep analysis involved, one is capable of noticing the evolutionary similarities of protozoa, harmless amphibians, dangerous pangolins, giant dinosaurs, nimble and intelligent mammals and the technical development of cold steel, throwing weapons, firearms, Roman fortifications, World War I tanks, miniature drones, and compact robots.

This allows us to make the following parallel definition of biological (technical) evolution: the natural (artificial) development of nature (a weapons system) accompanied by genetic changes (changes in the design principles and technical solutions) in populations (WMSE types), adaptations (changing the WMSE characteristics to match those of the adversary), speciation (creation of new WMSE types) and extinction of species (obsolescence of WMSE types) and the transformation of ecosystems (economic and industrial transformations) and the biosphere in general (equally applied to weapons and military hardware).

Even though evolution may appear to be a smoothly running, continuous and monotonous process, in the course of which everything useful is taken on board and everything unsuitable is discarded, this impression is deceptive. The evolution of animals, fungi, plants, etc., was constantly marked by instantaneous changes, leaps, and bifurcations such as the division of the vertebrates into fish, lizards, and mammals, followed by the division of the mammals into marsupials and placentals; of placentals into primates and all the other species, and so on, until Sahelanthropus tchadensis separated into chimpanzees and Homo.

Just like with technology, which proceeded along the path from mechanization to automation and then from automation to intellectualization, biological evolution progressed towards increased “psychism”: from the simplest amoeba reflexes to the relatively complex social behaviour of social insects; from the primitive behavioural patterns of amphibians to the extremely versatile behaviour of anthropoid primates. And finally, the crown of biological evolution was Homo sapiens, which differs from the rest of the animal world in its ability to reflect, i.e. the acquired ability of the consciousness to master the self and be aware of that self as being an object with specific intrinsic stability and a specific significance. This is no longer the mere ability to cognize (animals have that), but to cognize the self; not just to know (animals can do that too), but to know that you know, i.e. to be the object of one’s own thoughts. Technical evolution may lead to the creation of intellectual systems capable of making rational decisions in an unlimited number of various situations that defy any algorithms. Such systems would evolve by way of continuous improvements to the hardware and software part of artificial intelligence, minor discrete changes based on NBIC convergence technologies and global leaps resulting from “transferring human personality and consciousness to non-biological media.”

The following analogies of technical and biological objects have one thing in common – namely, the struggle for survival. This struggle implies any interactions between biological objects with the surrounding abiotic and biotic factors, i.e. between biological objects within the same species, and between species and with adverse factors of inanimate nature. Interaction with the latter results in the emergence of various adaptations, body parts and organs that enable a biological object to survive, despite the effects of natural laws represented by various forces (mostly for navigating space, self-preservation over time and combating entropy). For example, the law of gravity as applied to biological objects results in chitin exoskeletons for insects, endoskeletons for animals and so on; for technical objects, that same law results in structural frames, etc. Frictional force results in body surface, weight-supporting limbs, and fins for biological objects and in the frictional area and the bearing area of wheels and tracks for technical objects.

Interactions within a species and between different species lead to the emergence of similar means of overcoming external effects: carapaces, shells, body armor and reinforced concrete structures; claws, fangs, toxins, swords, arrows, bullets, and projectiles; mimicry and camouflage, etc.

The closest analogy is linked to the notion of co-evolution, which literally implies an evolutionary arms race. In biology, one such example involves the newt, which produces tetrodotoxin, and snakes, which have developed a tolerance to this toxin. The newt produces ever-increasing amounts of this toxin, while the snake becomes ever more immune to it, and so on. A similar cyclical process is observed in tanks with active and passive protection systems on the one hand, and anti-tank weapons on the other, as well as in stealth technologies and detection equipment, etc.

There are also similarities in the mechanisms of mutagenesis (genetic mutations, gene flow and genetic drift), the selection and rejection of useful or useless changes in biology and the creation of new principles and solutions in technology (technological progress). These inform the “effectiveness assessment” both in biology and in the life cycle of technical objects (including in the course of experiments, modeling, tests, operation, etc).

There is also a certain analogy in the extinction of species (such as dinosaurs) and instruments of war (such as permanent fortifications). Such analogies can absolutely be brought to a more detailed level by employing such notions as intraspecific competition, genetic drift, the struggle for survival, etc. These analogies run so deep that it is difficult to identify any significant differences between biological and technical evolution. Even the natural and artificial nature of evolution, in this case, is not the deciding criterion, seeing as humanity has long been engaged in artificial evolution, including the selective breeding of different species of animals and plants. Given the achievements of genetic engineering and other sciences, in the near future, most biological evolutionary processes will be determined by artificial, man-made factors.

In light of the above, over-the-horizon forecasts for the future development of weapon systems may be based on the method of drawing analogies between biological evolution and the evolution of WMSE types. For this purpose, the process may be presented as a black box (Fig.1):

Fig 1 — Over-the-horizon forecasting for the evolution of weapon systems

The three arrows directed towards the box represent activities aimed at forming a multitude of technical devices and ways to overcome natural laws and counter undesirable external action, the application of fundamentally new achievements of technological progress and combinations thereof to the new WMSE type. Inside the black box, top experts are involved in selecting these combinations and choosing technically feasible new WMSE types that would provide advantages in the “struggle for survival” (the arrow pointing out of the box).

The search for ways to overcome the laws of nature will involve the assessment of basic elements (subsystems, assemblies, etc) of WMSE types and their behaviour when exposed to different forces: rolling and sliding friction inside components and in contact with surfaces, gravity, ground pressure, etc, as well as different ways to counter them (air cushions, anti-friction materials, plasma jets and so on), i.e. everything that enables effective travel in space while preserving the properties over time.

Finding ways to counter undesirable external action implies an assessment of future technological solutions (that may or may not be based on existing technologies) that would help improve the destructive effect on enemy targets, while improving the protection of friendly facilities.

The selection of technological achievements will imply the identification and preliminary assessment of the applicability of general (in terms of global science and industry) trends in the development of technology, biology, the social sphere, etc., for WMSE. This implies trends towards technical intellectualization; the creation and convergence of nano-, bio-, info, cogno- and socio-technologies; the development of technology for generating artificial vortices and other weapons based on new physical principles, etc.

This incoming information will be used in the conceptual design of future WMSE types and in subsequent “black box” assessments of the degree to which they do not contradict the laws of nature and evaluations of their technical feasibility, compliance with reasonable resource limitations and the prospects of their creation within the over-the-horizon forecasting timeline.

As a result, the “black box” will produce an assessment of the new WMSE type’s advantages in the “struggle for survival.” This assessment will be based on an appraisal of the prospects for expanding the habitat (the chances of occupying enemy territory while preventing the occupation of one’s own territory) and an evaluation of the prospects for the preservation and growth of the population (WMSE numbers, military facilities, economic facilities, etc.), i.e. of the overall victory in a military conflict.

It should be noted that future WMSE types are unlikely to have specific performance characteristics (even given their probabilistic nature); rather, they will serve as reference points for the overall development of new weapons.

In light of the above, we may assume that strategic wars will mostly be cyberwars, fought primarily for resources. Given the global interconnectivity of all countries, facilities and individuals, the existing links will absolutely be abused by individual countries, communities, social and ethnic groups, professional associations and individuals. This does not only imply exclusively direct communications between electronic devices (such as fiber-optic or radio links), but also those supported by matching computer architectures, matching software, matching communication principles, common approaches to research, compatible moralities, etc.

The main factor in determining the victor in future cyberwars will be resources – and not so much material or even financial resources, but rather information resources. After all, information flows are at the heart of various management systems; stored information results in new knowledge; and information is used for manipulating people’s minds on a massive scale.

The first harbingers of the future cyberwars came in the form of the hacker attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities in 2010 and on Venezuelan power generation plants in 2019. In principle, enemy economic facilities could be attacked not just by the direct hacking (penetrating and damaging a system) or spoofing (changing a system’s behaviour) of automated management systems, but also by way of exerting informational influence on the very manufacturing algorithms implemented in the form of technological and production processes and influencing the corresponding infrastructure in order to initiate a technological disasters [6].

Catastrophe theory tells us that, in the practical domain, the following catastrophe management objectives are appropriate and physically meaningful:

  • the direct objective: devising methods and the technical means for the early detection, monitoring, and prevention of a catastrophe;
  • the reverse objective: devising methods and means for provoking catastrophes.

It is how the reverse objective is achieved that will determine the new formats of warfare aimed at causing the maximum possible damage to the enemy’s economy. Whereas any direct damage may involve damaging or destroying part of the economic infrastructure, indirect damage will be measured by secondary damaging effects and their impact on the enemy’s territory, troops and equipment, as well as on the environment. This is particularly true of potentially hazardous chemical, irradiation, hydro engineering and other facilities, which, once compromised, may release toxic substances, generate radioactive fallout, and create giant waves and other damaging effects. The domino effect for most man-made facilities should also be taken into account, as taking out any one of these would result in malfunctions at many others (this is particularly true of power generation). This could lead to the economic collapse of entire regions and even countries.

At the same time, a comprehensive approach to provoking industrial disasters is also possible. In the initial phase, firepower may be used against critical elements of the economic infrastructure. In this case, the economy will be switched, manually or automatically, to back-up sources and facilities, and efforts will be made to mitigate the effects of any damage and destruction caused. This period is particularly favorable for covert cyberattacks on technological processes to compromise structural stability, disrupt system interconnectivity, etc. This objective will be implemented in three distinct phases:

  • the facility will enter and remain in a dangerous state, with the operating point (where the process is stable) being situated too close to the nearest critical point (where links between the facility’s elements become unstable or get disrupted) and approaching this point at great speed;
  • the facility reaching a critical state (structural instability);
  • the development of structural instability (development of catastrophic events).

It is similarly possible to plan such an operation against a supersystem in which the system being attacked is an element or a subsystem. For an economic facility, such a super system could be an economic sector or its power generation component. Disrupting the structural stability of an entire industry without resorting to firepower can lead to an avalanche-type loss of ties between individual industries and the economy as a whole. The resulting economic collapse will be the main cause of the rapid decline in the potential of the enemy’s armed forces, as troops will be mobilized to perform the untypical function of enforcing order in the country, etc.

The most important component of cyberwars will certainly be informational and psychological pressure on people, which will be exerted to impose a specific vision of the world order on them and change their value systems, worldviews, and behavioral patterns. Combat neurolinguistic programming will also be used.

There will be massive attacks (by way of informational interference and distortion) on individual and collective cognitive processes, including by generating false input data for various information devices that will distort the perception of various sensory organs.

The enemy will also be subjected to cognitive modelling in order to determine their physical and physiological states, understand and control the motivation of individuals and groups, as well as their cognitive processes and decision-making styles, including by using (intercepting) information from various types of sensors that will, in the future, be widely carried on a person or inside their body.

In addition to direct methods of influencing people’s consciousness, indirect methods of behavioral correction will also be used (for example, causing panic), including by means of a global misinformation campaign with the use of the media, the internet, and social networks. Within this misinformation space, virtual warring entities will be engaged in imaginary hostilities, accompanied by fictitious but very terrible consequences for entire regions.

In general, it should be emphasized that future strategic confrontations between nations and societies will no longer be exclusively military in nature, but rather holistic in covering all possible human activities (from material to mental), all forms of nature (animate and inanimate) and all levels of knowledge (from the macrocosm to the microcosm).

At the strategic level, combat operations will mostly involve long-range precision systems. It has long been known that the decisive role in future wars will be played not by large ground forces or nuclear weapons, but rather by high-precision conventional weapons and weapons based on new physical principles [7]. These types of weapons are gradually replacing the current numerous combined-arms formations, and will eventually completely replace both nuclear weapons and conventional ground troops. A massive conventional high-precision attack on military and economic facilities is capable of paralyzing any country, and the destruction of hazardous facilities can cause environmental disasters.

Hostilities at the strategic level will take place at a faster pace and on a much larger scale. Long-range precision systems will not normally be used against enemy troops, but rather against economic infrastructure and the most critical military facilities. This circumstance will require significant proactive spending on organizing the defense of such facilities and ensuring the protection of personnel by way of sheltering, evacuation and dispersal. Backup power sources and power lines will need to be installed, production lines and machinery will need to be more robust, etc. The party not prepared for such a new type of war will be forced “to operate in the old ways, and there will be nothing left for it but to put its numerous ground troops on the defensive, even though it may not face enemy ground troops” [7]. It appears that the role of ground troops will be restricted to securing victory at the tactical level, ensuring the security of humanitarian operations and supporting the transition to peace.

The tactical level will be characterized by the massive use of autonomous ground-based, air and sea weapons systems (robots, avatars, etc), including non-conventional weapons (directed energy, non-lethal systems, and so on), as well as individual military personnel with enhanced psychophysical capabilities.

Ground operations will, as a rule, see the predominant use of energy-informational weapons, including non-lethal systems. Irregular and hybrid forces will be used in addition to regular troops. The battlefield will be transformed into a multidimensional space (on the ground, in the air, and in underground communications), and military operations will be conducted mainly in urban areas.

The vertical organization of the armed forces at the tactical level will be replaced by a large-scale matrix-based, possibly self-organizing system consisting of military personnel, robots, and intelligent subsystems.

Some military personnel will be responsible for commanding combat operations, while others will be operating as “super-soldiers” thanks to their enhanced physical, cognitive and sensory capabilities (through the use of exoskeletons, implants and neural interfaces enabling man-machine interaction).

Combat operations will be carried out on a digitized battlefield, with a single operator remotely controlling various robotic platforms. The virtual nature of hostilities will do away with ethical restrictions and the fear of losing life and limb; unfortunately, warfare may turn into an exciting game.

Combat robots will vary from nanorobots and insect-sized devices to robotic transport vehicles. Many of these will perform reconnaissance and observation functions and will carry sensors providing virtually seamless coverage of the battlefield in order to collect, process and transmit information, and also for purposes of creating a misinformation space.

Other robots will operate as universal combat vehicles, delivery and evacuation vehicles and smart munitions that can also operate in groups, such as self-homing groups of missiles or mobile landmines. These robots will be able to operate in various control modes, from complete autonomy to active human control.

Some of the robots will be used to protect networks from cyberattacks, and will also advise on complex decision-making problems.

Due to the fact that modern combat macrosystems are becoming exponentially more expensive and take a long time to develop, the prevailing trend will be the miniaturization of weapons and the transition from macro- to microsystems [8]. The combat survivability concept will be replaced by that of swarm resilience. A large number of miniature platforms will allow for a smooth reduction in combat power, as individual devices experience wear and tear or breakdown, in contrast to a sharp drop in combat power due to the failure of a macro-platform such as a multirole armoured vehicle, a warplane or, even more so, an aircraft carrier. Such new systems will allow combat power to be dispersed, and the greater number of targets will force the enemy to expend more ammunition.

As for the trends in weapons of physical destruction, the development of hyper-precision guidance solutions is of particular interest. In such systems, instead of destroying an individual building or moving target, the weapon seeks and destroys specific groups of personnel or individual parts of enemy targets. Directed-energy weapons (lasers, particle beams and super-high-frequency waves) will become ubiquitous, as will electrodynamic and non-lethal weapons.

Protection solutions will include both electromagnetism and other types of force fields consisting of particles, energy or waves that would destroy, damage or otherwise affect objects seeking to penetrate through them.

Signature-reducing protective coatings, active multi-spectral camouflage, mimicry sensors and multiband decoys imitating combat equipment will be used everywhere, as will reflection, refraction, and scattering of directed energy, special surface properties and shapes, and multi-spectral decoy targets.

All types of resources (energy, equipment, supplies, and information) will be delivered in near real-time, according to the “all types of resources, almost simultaneously and in the volumes required” principle. Power sources will include mobile nuclear (thermonuclear) power plants, organic, renewable power sources, beam generators, and so on. Some forms of energy will be transmitted wirelessly.

Thus, owing to the fundamental difficulties of scientific and technical forecasting due to the non-linear nature of the processes under scrutiny, the multiple degrees of freedom, and the unpredictable emergence and interaction of associated direct and reverse causal factors, a futurological analysis appears to be most appropriate for describing the formats and methods of future warfare, including land wars. This analysis indicates that, at the strategic level, war will mostly be waged in cyberspace, as digital warfare for resources. The strategic level will see a massive use of long-range high-precision weapon systems, mostly against economic infrastructure. Tactically, we will witness the widespread use of autonomous ground-based, air, and sea weapons systems, as well as of individual humans with enhanced psychophysical capabilities.

More specific formats and methods of warfare will be determined by the capabilities of prospective WMSE. In this regard, a future paper will address the existing technological trends and possible qualitative changes.

Literature

1. Burenok V., Durnev R., Kryukov Kirill., Methodical Approach to an Over-the-Horizon Forecasting of Weapon Systems Development. Armament and Economics, Issue 2 (44), 2018.

2. Potapov A., Artificial Intelligence and Universal Reasoning. St. Petesburg: Polytechnics, 2012. 711 pp.

3. Kaku M., Physics of the Future. Moscow: Alpina Non-Fiction, 2018. 736 pp.

4. Kurzweil R., How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed. Translated from English. Moscow: Exmo, 2018. 352 pp.

5. Katalevsky D., Foundations of Imitating Modelling and System Analysis in Management: A Training Aide. Moscow: Delo Publishing House under RANEPA, 2015. 496 pp.

6. Akimov V., Feliks Deduchenko, Roman Durnev et al. Comprehensive Safety Protection System for Russian Upstream Oil and gas: Common Concept Issues. Gazovaya Promyshlennost, special issue “Aerospace Monitoring of Oil and Gas Facilities,” No, 732, 2015.

7. Slipchenko V., Future War (a Prognostic Analysis). Moscow: OGI Publishing House, 2005. 35 pp

8. Lem S., Twenty-First Century or Upside-Down Evolution. Moscow: Nauka, library of the Khimiya i Zhizn magazine, 1990. 33 pp.


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