The US Government Is Testing a New Superweapon – It Could Change Everything
(FeaturedNews.com) – The US government is experimenting with a new way to use drones that could change the future of warfare. Drone swarms, collectives of up to 30 small units acting toward a common goal, could be the next superweapon in the American arsenal. Testing of the new tech is already well underway.
Fast, Smart, and Lethal
Dan Goure of Real Clear Defense described a scenario in which the US engages in a war with China or Russia. He says the combat environment with a superpower would be quick, intense, and deadly. The entire purpose of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is to reduce the loss of pilots. Swarming drones, known as Air-Launched Effects, take conventional drone warfare to a new level.
Sending 30 drones at a target, controlled by experienced operators trained to make real-time battlefield decisions, could confuse the enemy. Rather than having one target, or even an entire wing of fighter planes, they’d be dealing with 30 armed targets so small they only carry a 9-inch payload.
The other benefit to using drones is their ability to enhance operational awareness. Shifting a drone swarm from reconnaissance mode to attack mode at the drop of a hat is an advantage that any battlefield commander would covet.
How Soon Will Drone Swarms Be Ready?
Drone swarms are already in production for testing. At this year’s Experimental Demonstration Gateway Exercise (EDGE), hosted in Utah by the US Army, swarms of drones made an appearance, launched from Blackhawk helicopters. Before the outing at EDGE, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) showcased the drones alongside other innovations, including small ground rovers and a hobby-sized airplane zipping through urban streets.
These mini-drone swarms sound like they might solve a whole slew of tactical problems, but they also may create logistical nightmares. Manning a drone requires a remote pilot. Manning 30 drones therefore requires 30 pilots. If part of the function of a drone swarm is to overwhelm and act in unison, a central system that controls the entire swarm might be necessary.
To solve the problem, DARPA is working on Offensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET), artificial intelligence that will control entire swarms within a single system while still allowing some operational flexibility, such as attacking a target from multiple angles.
It would seem that the next generation of warfare might look more like something out of a science fiction movie than a military base.
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