“Delta”, a program that allows Ukraine to resist Russia
The Guardian describes a fairly anonymous building near Zaporozhye, Ukraine. A few dozen computer screens glow here, and as many people are focused on real-time updates of the Delta platform, which some in the Ukrainian military consider one of the most important weapons of the Ukrainian military. War against Russia.
Delta is a kind of Google Map of the ongoing war and its noisy fronts, accessible in real time to the Ukrainian military thanks to the wonders of Starlink’s satellite internet. A few clicks and a unit can see where enemy units are, other clicks and observe their likely movements: better predict, plan, aim and strike.
Delta’s simple interface provides a fairly accurate and real-time view of the situation on the ground. Information about each enemy unit, its training, its leaders – everything about it that can be obtained from the Internet or social media.
Delta is the result of an innovation center created by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, which also spawned the famous Aerorozvidka, a group dedicated to combat drones since the beginning of the Russian invasion and even long before. showed its decisive importance in modern conflicts.
The software is typical of what makes the difference between the Ukrainian army and the Russian fighter: the latter is a rigid, vertical, old post-Soviet monolith, while the former is too rigid to break out of its straitjacket. vision of things where information flows more fluidly, better authority of each between departments.
Vitali, one of the responsible members of the team, explains this to the Guardian “The main difference between the Russian army and the Ukrainian army is the horizontal relations created between the units”. Vitali adds: “We win because Ukrainians are natural horizontal communicators”.
A doctrine inherited from the Soviet era “top down” When initiatives like Delta offer Ukrainian units and their command multiple opportunities for additional flexibility and initiative, Russian military power comes at a cost.
The software is a manifestation of the “start-up” spirit of the young Ukrainians who started the war, most of them coming from the technology and IT sector.
“They are not bureaucrats of the Defense Ministry. They were part of the private sector and were drafted into the army.”another official of the innovation center told the British daily Tatiana. “Because they have an agile development culture, they started building Delta with their minds and their handshe continues. The creative process is short. You develop, you test, you launch.”
“Our bullets are information”
In the center of Zaporizhia, moreover, there is little or no uniform, only one of six “centers” of the same type installed outside the main fronts of the war, where they handle this valuable information.
Specialists of OSINT (“Open source intelligence”, intelligence in open source) are responsible for browsing social networks, searching for any information, writings, photos, geolocation that allows real-time information about the nature, location and movements of Delta. of enemy units.
As a recent Wall Street Journal article explained, they can also rely on valuable information sent by Ukrainian quidams, who have become invaluable informants across the border and in the occupied territories, and which Russia cannot do anything about.
Elsewhere in the center, a workshop dedicated to the development, repair or testing of drones, often of civilian origin and also widely used to gather a continuous flow of military intelligence centralized by Delta.
Of course, Delta should be as integrated as possible – its programmers do their best to connect accepted Western weapons to it – and is generally available to any unit with software and an Internet connection thanks to Starlink. . The platform is also based on satellite images provided by allied countries or various private firms that have their eyes on the sky in the service of Ukraine.
To further sharpen this knowledge of the situation, analyzes and highlights are made daily and made available to anyone who wants to use them.
The Guardian reports that attention is currently focused on the city of Melitopol, which has been occupied by the Russians, turning it into an important logistics hub and where Ukrainian forces struck a base in December.
However, not all of the Ukrainian army uses Delta: in an institution whose oldest personnel were trained in the Soviet era, the transition to the modern era of warfare and the above-mentioned horizontality is not always easy. But it’s probably only a matter of time before the software becomes more formally accepted and universally used.
“It’s a great story, Shlomo explains about his work on the Delta, we write what will change war. Our weapons are computers. Our bullets are information.”