Pentagon successfully tests micro-drone swarm - Politics | PoFo

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Pentagon successfully tests micro-drone swarm

The Pentagon may soon be unleashing a 21st-century version of locusts on its adversaries after officials on Monday said it had successfully tested a swarm of 103 micro-drones.

The important step in the development of new autonomous weapon systems was made possible by improvements in artificial intelligence, holding open the possibility that groups of small robots could act together under human direction.

Military strategists have high hopes for such drone swarms that would be cheap to produce and able to overwhelm opponents' defenses with their great numbers.

The test of the world's largest micro-drone swarm in California in October included 103 Perdix micro-drones measuring around six inches (16 centimeters) launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, the Pentagon said in a statement.

"The micro-drones demonstrated advanced swarm behaviors such as collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying and self-healing," it said.

"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," said William Roper, director of the Pentagon's Strategic Capabilities Office. "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."

Defense Secretary Ash Carter—a technophile and former Harvard professor—created the SCO when he was deputy defense secretary in 2012.

The department is tasked with accelerating the integration of technological innovations into the US weaponry.

It particularly strives to marry already existing commercial technology—in this case micro-drones and artificial intelligence software—in the design of new weapons.

Originally created by engineering students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013 and continuously improved since, Perdix drones draw "inspiration from the commercial smartphone industry," the Pentagon said.

Meanwhile, American kids play countless hours of predictive programming.

This is actually pretty significant. Good chance this is going to evolve into quite powerful and dangerous in time.
Yeah, Technocracy abolishes ideology. More than half the discussion threads in the forum will be obsolete by the year 2025-2030. Luckily, I'm future proof.
Swarm technology has all kinds of promising applications for space warfare, point defence, air defence, missile defence and naval and air strike missions. Essentially this would be the next evolutionary phase in drone warfare, making the drones much more useful for conflict, and integrating them with first generation AI.

The air defence and missile defence of platforms such as tanks, helicopters, and naval warships would have to be reconsidered given the possibility of attack by difficult to hit multitudes of enemy drones. This was something that was largely predicted by Colin Powell and Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfield in 2001.


According to some reports, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s spring 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review considered recommending that the Navy stop building large-deck Nimitz-class carriers in favor of smaller carriers that could be deployed in the coastal waters. This new class of "pocket" aircraft carriers, designated the Corsair, is envisioned as a vessel of only 6,000 tons displacement, with a crew of as few as 20 sailors. The Corsair might carry half a dozen of the Vertical Take-Off variant of the Joint Strike Fighter being developed for the Marine Corps. Alternatvely, the Corsairs might employ Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles [UCAVs]. Vessels like the Corsair might be built for several hundred million dollars, compared with the $4 billion construction cost of a Nimitz carrier. The Corsair could allow the Navy to operate in coastal waters, within range of shore-base anti-shipping cruise missiles, according to proponents of the concept. It could also allow the Navy to provide air cover for smaller post-Cold War operations, such as the peacekeeping missions in Haiti or East Timor, that either divert a Nimitz-class carrier or are conducted without air support.
Then an expert in warfare can probably think of more than half a dozen counter measures. I mean sure anything can be combated but at least give the team of people who've spent years developing this at least a smidge of credit.
As @Igor Antunov said, they have to communicate with each other. That's a vulnerability. You could jam them by
  1. Adding noise to their communication
  2. Sending malignant data through their networks
  3. My favorite, adding a decoy to the system or using a captured member, upload a virus and laugh as it spreads, preferably even jumping to the computers at HQ or something
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