COMETH THE SWARM — EXAMINING THE NEXT EVOLUTION IN DRONE WARFARE

Advances in drone swarming, the next evolution of robotic warfare are mostly classified, though governments have given glimpses of their progress over the years. The question is not if, but when and where drone swarms will be utilised as part of a mature concept of operations (ConOps)

The Knock on the Door

Improvised UAVs with PETN bomblets were used to attack Russian targets in Syria as part of a swarm
Massive swarm drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities demonstrates destructive potential of autonomous weapons in the hand non state players

Switch to the Unmanned

An Armenian S-300 SAM battery near Stepanakert (inset) showing damage from a mass drone strike by Azerbaijan’s Israeli made Harop loitering munition UAVs

Demystifying Drone Swarming

Characteristic of a drone swarm
Drone Swarms exhibit biological behaviour to maintain cohesion and self-healing ability
Swarms exhibit the decentralized nature of melee combat, along with the mobility of manoeuvre warfare.
The AFADS will prove to be a game changer in the next generation battlefield
Loyal wingmen will work as swarms and will be commanded by manned platform through MUM-T protocols

Military Swarming Across the World

The Perdix Swarm UAS demo in 2017 is a significant capability demo
The X-61A Gremlin air launched re-usable asset will have a variety of swarm UAV roles teaming up with legacy planforms like C-130 and recovered back in air
The LOCUST is a novel tube launched swarm drone system with a quick reaction capability
Employment of Reinforcement Learning Based architecture will enhance the efficiency of swarms
US Army’s Cluster UAS Smart Munition for Missile Deployment has ducted fan UAVs
A Kratos X-58A Valkyrie loyal wingman flying with F-22 and F-35 manned fighters
The UK MOD has selected the first vendor to execute its LANCA wingman project by 2023
The Airbus FCAS is a futuristic vision to incorporate manned platform operations with networked and swarming remote carriers with a choice of payloads.
Russia is reportedly working on the Flock 93 drone swarm system
Russia’s S-70 Okhotnik loyal wingman with a Su-57 fighter
Screen grabs from the recent CH-901 tube launched swarm drone test video by China
The Turkish Army has deployed 500 plus Kargu swarming drone systems for kinetic attack

India’s Swarm Drone Odyssey

Indian Army demonstrated a 75 drone heterogenous swarm on Army Day 2021 in New Delhi
An artist impression of the HAL ALFA-S air launched swarm drone system
HAL’s CATS Warrior Unmanned Wingman has been unveiled at Aero India 2021
Artwork showing 2 x Warriors operating along with India’s Tejas LCA

Drone Swarms: The Future is Now