Dropped from Air Force jets, an autonomous 100-drone swarm plans and executes its mission

U.S. military officials have announced that they’ve carried out their largest ever test of a drone swarm released from fighter jets in flight. In the trials, three F/A-18 Super Hornets released 103 Perdix drones, which then communicated with each other and went about performing a series of formation flying exercises that mimic a surveillance mission.

But the swarm doesn’t know how, exactly, it will perform the task before it’s released. As William Roper of the Department of Defense explained…

Perdix are not pre-programmed synchronized individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature. Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team.

They’re not required to behave like human sheeple. Should we worry?

9 thoughts on “Dropped from Air Force jets, an autonomous 100-drone swarm plans and executes its mission

  1. Buzz says:

    “The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been conducting research into a number of types of swarming drones that could be used on the battlefield. The latest of these is the “Gremlins” program—an effort to build relatively low-cost unmanned aircraft that can be launched from a “mothership” transport aircraft and then be recovered by the mothership after their mission is complete.
    This past week, the Defense Department conducted the first airborne launch test for the Dynetics X-61A Gremlins Air Vehicle, a jet-powered drone that can be launched from the rotary weapons bays of the B-1 and B-52, from wing pylons, or from a C-130—and then recovered by a C-130 equipped with a docking cable and a crane-like recovery arm.” (includes links and video) https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/01/here-come-the-gremlins-dod-tests-drone-launch-from-c-130-mothership/
    DARPA press release “Gremlins Program Completes First Flight Test for X-61A Vehicle” (1/17/2020) https://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2020-01-17

  2. Incoming says:

    “US Air Force tests swarming smart bombs” https://www.aerospacetestinginternational.com/news/defense/us-air-force-tests-swarming-smart-bombs.html “Collaborative Small Diameter Bombs (CSDBs) are Small Diameter Bombs that have been modified with a collaborative autonomy payload.
    “Weapons that use this technology are semi-autonomous since they abide by pre-defined Rules of Engagement and only execute based on an approved list of plays.”
    Garry Haase, Director of the AFRL Munitions Directorate said, “This successful Golden Horde demonstration builds the foundation for integrating this technology into a variety of other weapon systems, which will help the US maintain a technological advantage over our adversaries.”

    “Collaborative Bombs Fall Short in First Golden Horde Flight Test” https://www.airforcemag.com/collaborative-bombs-fall-short-in-first-golden-horde-flight-test/
    “A group of networked bombs failed to hit the right target in the Air Force’s first flight test of its nascent weapon-swarming technology last month, posing a new obstacle as the service tries to speed the concept to the battlefield.
    On Dec. 15, the Air Force Test Center dropped two Collaborative Small Diameter Bombs from an F-16 jet to see whether the modified weapons could work together. The bombs use autonomous tools to “talk” to each other in flight and carry out missions as a team.”

  3. OTC says:

    “Puerto Rico-based Red Cat Holdings has announced what it believes is the first and only commercially available multi-drone swarm system, allowing several DoD-approved drones to perform co-ordinated tasks under the control of a single pilot.” https://weirdnews.info/2022/06/04/you-can-now-buy-a-co-ordinated-multi-drone-swarm-in-a-box/
    “…China has owned this market so comprehensively that American institutions like the FBI and NYPD have been buying DJI drones for surveillance work, despite the Department of Defense labeling them “potential threats to national security” that could possibly feed critical data back to China if weaponized remotely in a conflict situation. Machines like the Golden Eagle aim to eliminate this threat, being fully designed and built in the US.”

  4. Update says:

    The US army has simulated an attack by swarms of quadcopter drones in a training exercise in Fort Irwin, California.
    The US military’s National Training Center said “drones will be as important in the first battle of the next war as artillery is today”, describing the exercise in which the US army’s 11th armored cavalry division mounted an attack on the 1st infantry division, backed by swarms of the quadcopters that were capable of using “lethal munitions.”
    The NTC said the opposing forces were staging the mock battle on “the world’s most realistic simulated battlefield”. https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/2022/09/12/drone-swarm-attack-simulated-by-us-army-using-lethal-quadcopters/
    In Ukraine, the weapons have been used to devastating effect even before the Russian invasion in February, with Russian forces using quadcopters to identify a Ukrainian position in 2018, killing and injuring 100 soldiers with a follow on artillery barrage.
    Ukrainians have since harnessed local civilian production of quadcopters, using them to drop RKG-3 anti-tank grenades on Russian armour and infantry. In an echo of ISIS’s use of the weapons, some attack videos show grenades dropped from the drones landing inside tank commander hatches, setting off ammunition inside the tank in a huge fireball.
    The US has long been concerned about swarms of cheap, commercially available drones overwhelming their positions with small bomblets, or directing lethal artillery fire from afar.
    In April, the head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), the US military’s famed research arm, said it could be possible to launch swarms of 1,000 drones, navigating autonomously using terrain features and overwhelming enemy defenses.

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